Karlheinz Essl



sound performance for granular and modular synth

Basics | Performances

Kircher and others imagine
that in the centre of the channel of the Maelström
is an abyss penetrating the globe...

Edgar Allan Poe

Performed live at Bilkent University Ankara, Turkey
Portrait Concert Karlheinz Essl (22 Mar 2024)


The Maelström is a gigantic vortex in the North Sea, described by Edgar Allan Poe in his short story A Descent into the Maelström, published in 1841. Its power is so great that it can suck in even large ships and crush them to pulp.

For this piece, I created a hybrid instrument that combines digital granular synthesis with an analog modular synthesizer. It pulverizes sounds and recombines them into new sonic structures that can be controlled during a live performance. It is played on a laptop with a MIDI controller and a MakeNoise 0-COAST synthesizer at the same time.

The premiere took place on March 22, 2024 during my portrait concert at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, performed by myself. A second extended performance took place on April 21, 2024 at Künstlerhaus Vienna with Se-Lien Chuang (voice, visuals), Andreas Weixler (guitar, electronics) and myself (granular & modular synth).


User interface of mælstrøm
© 2024 by Karlheinz Essl

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Updated: 28 May 2024