Thomas Ankersmit (1979, Leiden, The Netherlands) is a musician and installation artist based in Berlin and Amsterdam.
He makes live electronic music with analogue and digital devices, as well as saxophone.
Since 2006 his main instrument, both live and in the studio, has been the Serge analogue modular synthesizer.
Physical and psychoacoustic phenomena such as sound reflections, otoacoustic emissions, infrasound, and highly directional ("Holosonic") sound have been an important part of his work since the early 2000s.
His work with analogue synthesizers is also characterized by a gentle abuse of the equipment, using feedback and disturbances to the signal flow to create dense but finely detailed swarms of electronic sound.
He regularly collaborates with artists Phill Niblock, Valerio Tricoli and Kevin Drumm.
For the first ten years of his activities, Ankersmit focussed almost exclusively on live performance and installation work.
Since 2010, his music has been released on the PAN, Touch and Ash International labels.
"Thomas Ankersmit, seated before an obscenely attractive bank of analogue modular tech, gradually amasses juddery glitches and twitches, subterranean buzz-drone and caustic, luminous washes. His use of hocketing high frequencies over the CCA's quadraphonic sound system even casts inner-ear illusions reminiscent of Maryanne Amacher's otoacoustic emissions. Densely striated and mercilessly dominating, Ankersmit's set is one of the weekend's highlights."
Matt Evans, The Wire
"Thomas Ankersmit's solo concert at Berghain for the MaerzMusik festival immersed the audience in equal parts terrifying and hallucinatory full-body sound. Using the venue's superb quadraphonic sound system to its full capacity and commanding seemingly infinite dynamics from his Serge synthesizer and computer, the music varied from carefully controlled blizzards of electronic drone-noise to finely tuned high-frequency flickers that seemed to transform whenever I just slightly moved my head to infra-bass waves so deep and powerful that they shook up resonances throughout the building and actually blurred my vision. A stunning, fantastic performance."
Christian Asmussen, Punktum
"Sound has never felt so granular and tangible and all around you. A hair-raising and overwhelming experience."
Antoine Richard, Tokafi
"A fantastic performance by Thomas Ankersmit in Berlin’s MaerzMusik festival at the infamous Berghain club. It was fascinating to see Ankersmit play the analog Serge synthesizer like a genuine musical instrument: sensing its possibilities and restrictions, trying to force it into shape, resisting and shaping its unpredictability. The sonic landscapes he created were incredibly rich and subtle: softly crackling and roaringly loud, very high and very low pitched, dense and deafening and wide, almost silent. A genuine feedback loop between the machine and the performer and back, and a fascinating sight and sound."
Melle Kromhout, Noise Identities
"One of the great discoveries of the festival"
Fabrice Allard, EtherREAL
"Ankersmit constructs a musical world that feels alive and capable of going anywhere, and yet also manages to give the music a strong sense of structured purpose, a degree of compositional control unusual in this area of live performance. It is the fine balance between the sense of chaos that threatens to pull everything apart and the controlled formation of the music into clearly defined sections of differing intensities that raises the work above that of so many of Ankersmit’s contemporaries."
Richard Pinnell, The Wire
You can download some high resolution photos here