Ralf Wehowsky

Ralf Wehowsky is one in a growing group of non-academic sound artists whose work is abstract, but very focused on the possibilities of sound and very rewarding over repeated listenings and different works. Although he started his musical career in the post-industrial scene, his musical output in the '90s resists categorization as well as casual listening. His sonic interests are wide, but it is perhaps his pursuit of the transformation of simple materials that distinguishes him from his colleagues.
On one of his albums, When Freezing Air Stings Like Ice, a common set of parameters is the foundation for all seven pieces, but the parameters that create the pitch curve for one track create the volume curve for another, and so forth. Thus, a common foundation becomes the generative force for a vastly different collection of pieces. His album Tulpas took the concept of transformation even further by inviting several other sound artists to participate in the process, creating a reflection and commentary on his own work unparalleled in contemporary music.

Wehowsky was born in 1959 in Mainz, Germany. In the '70s, his musical interests ranged from hard rock (the Stooges, Black Sabbath) to prog rock (Henry Cow, Faust), and free jazz (Ornette Coleman, Peter Brötzmann) to new music (Stockhausen, Pierre Henry). He became disillusioned with rock because it stopped being challenging and was too much entertainment, but shared a brief interest with punk because of its revolt against mainstream art. His earliest recorded work was with the post-industrial group Permutative Distortion (later called P.D. and finally recording as P16.D4), and in 1981, Wehowsky and his colleagues formed the collective Selektion, whose members worked in both acoustic and optical arenas. The culmination of P16.D4's recording career was a double LP, entitled Nichts Niemand Nirgends Nie!, released in 1986. This album already shows Wehowsky's interest in repeated transformations of a given set of material. It included two studio sides (one by P16.D4 and the other by many of the same musicians in a different project, S.B.O.T.H.I.), a side of live presentation of the same material, and a final side of specific transformations of the previous three sides. Although this album has not been specifically reissued, it has been used as source material for two CDs in the '90s, and has even been used on a collaborative CD released in 1999.

In 1992, Wehowsky released his first solo album under the name RLW. Most of his output in the '90s was collaborative, but he did release four additional solos (see discography below). His work in the '90s culminated in a five-CD set, Tulpas, where he invited several leading sound artists from all over the world to participate in a transformative process that took two years to complete. The participants themselves chose how to proceed, whether to use a structural approach or an emotive affect, or simply to do a remix. He sometimes transformed the pieces even after delivery in order to create a more perfect whole. Far more than a simple remix project, Tulpas is a model of collaborative transformation as well as a complex overarching vision.

Short discographic essay
Ralf Wehowsky has released the solo works Acht (1992), the manifesto of his electronic and computer music, 14 (1992), that collects unreleased material of the last decade, Revu et Corrige` (Trente Oiseaux, 1995), When Freezing Air Stings Like Ice I Shall Breathe Again (Streamline, 1995), and the mini-album Nameless Victims (Metamkine, 1996). They explore the technique of having musicians exchange sound material and re-composing it. By pushing the concept to the extreme, the monumental Tulpas (Selektion, 1997) is virtually an essay on his work compiled by other musicians. Pullover (Table of the Elements, 1998), which uses voice as its source material, L'Oeil Retourne/Vier Vorspiele (Selektion, 1998), with Walter Marchetti, Yang-Tul (Anomalous, 1999), with Andrew Chalk, Cases (Selektion, 2001), with Kevin Drumm, simply refined the technique taking advantage of computers.
In Groups:


Ralf Wehowsky - Yang-Tul album art Andrew Chalk / Ralf Wehowsky / Eric Lanzillotta Andrew Chalk / Ralf Wehowsky / Eric Lanzillotta - Yang-Tul Anomalous Records US 1998 Sell This Version
SCD 026 Ralf Wehowsky - Vier Vorspiele / L'Oeil Retourné album art Ralf Wehowsky / Lionel Marchetti Ralf Wehowsky / Lionel Marchetti - Vier Vorspiele / L'Oeil Retourné(CD, Album) Selektion SCD 026 Germany 1998 Sell This Version
SON-12 Ralf Wehowsky - Verklärte Tage album art Peter Duimelinks / Roel Meelkop / Ralf Wehowsky Peter Duimelinks / Roel Meelkop / Ralf Wehowsky - Verklärte Tage(CD, Album) Sonoris SON-12 France 1999 Sell This Version
Hermes041 Ralf Wehowsky - Sights album art Ralf Wehowsky & Bruce Russell Ralf Wehowsky & Bruce Russell - Sights(CD) Corpus Hermeticum Hermes041 New Zealand 2004 Sell This Version
ABSblue02 Ralf Wehowsky - Midnight Crossroads Tape Recorder Blues album art Bruce Russell & Ralf Wehowsky Bruce Russell & Ralf Wehowsky - Midnight Crossroads Tape Recorder Blues(CD, Album) A Bruit Secret ABSblue02 France 2005 Sell This Version
bw 07 Ralf Wehowsky - Gelbe Tupfen album art Domenico Sciajno & Ralf Wehowsky Domenico Sciajno & Ralf Wehowsky - Gelbe Tupfen(CD, Album) Bowindo bw 07 Italy 2005 Sell This Version
KP 3021 Ralf Wehowsky - Tränende Würger album art Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky - Tränende Würger(CD, Album) Korm Plastics KP 3021 Netherlands 2005 Sell This Version
mt139 Ralf Wehowsky - Return Of The Stone Spirits album art Anla Courtis / Ralf Wehowsky Anla Courtis / Ralf Wehowsky - Return Of The Stone Spirits(CD, Album, Ltd, Num) Beta-lactam Ring Records mt139 US 2007 Sell This Version
SEDCD047 Ralf Wehowsky - I Don't Think I Can See You Tonight. album art Bhob Rainey, Ralf Wehowsky Bhob Rainey, Ralf Wehowsky - I Don't Think I Can See You Tonight.(CD, Album) Sedimental SEDCD047 US 2007 Sell This Version
waystyx 64 Ralf Wehowsky - Unwahrscheinlichkeiten album art Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky - Unwahrscheinlichkeiten(CD, Album, Ltd, Num) Waystyx waystyx 64 Russia 2010 Sell This Version
E83 Ralf Wehowsky - Walküren Am Dornenbaum album art Tomas Korber / Ralf Wehowsky Tomas Korber / Ralf Wehowsky - Walküren Am Dornenbaum(CD, Album) Entr'acte E83 UK 2010 Sell This Version
N001.2012, U.M.P.-022 Ralf Wehowsky -  Aseleuch Tendrradero album art Ralf Wehowsky & Anla Courtis Ralf Wehowsky & Anla Courtis - Aseleuch Tendrradero(CD, Album) Noise And Hate, Ultra-Mail Prod. N001.2012, U.M.P.-022 Hong Kong 2013 Sell This Version
mono082 Ralf Wehowsky - Which Head You're Dancing In? album art Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky Johannes Frisch & Ralf Wehowsky - Which Head You're Dancing In?(CD, Album) Monotype Records mono082 Poland 2014 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

V222 Ralf Wehowsky - Un Ocean De Certitude album art Günter* / Wehowsky* Günter* / Wehowsky* - Un Ocean De Certitude(3xCD, Mini) V2_Archief V222 Netherlands 1996 Sell This Version
MKCD020, MKCD 020 Ralf Wehowsky - Nameless Victims album art Ralf Wehowsky Nameless Victims(CD, Mini) Metamkine, Metamkine MKCD020, MKCD 020 France 1996 Sell This Version
mm036 Ralf Wehowsky - Einschlagskrater album art Möslang*, Wehowsky* Möslang*, Wehowsky* - Einschlagskrater(7", Ltd) Meeuw Muzak mm036 Netherlands 2008 Sell This Version