BIOGRAPHY

Born in 1985, Orson Hentschel is a German composer and visual artist. He is based in Berlin, Germany. Having started to play classical piano at an early age, he now mainly composes electronic-experimental music, with influences ranging from classical minimalism to Trip-Hop and Drone.

His debut Feed the Tape (2016) was strongly influenced by Classical Minimal Music. Especially the compository methods of Steve Reich such as phase variations, looping and imitation enter Hentschel's work. However, these methods serve as characteristic compository elements rather than being in the focus of the pieces. The loop, which often is the starting point of one of Hentschels works, usually plays the role of a constant sound substrate on which harmonic-melodic elements can thrive.
Even though Hentschel has experienced a classical education, his composition techniques are anything but traditional. His creative starting point is rarely rooted in musical ideas, but consists of finding appropriate sound material. His sources are diverse: sounds and samples like soundtracks, film sounds, music albums or internet findings encounter polyphonic vocal-music from the 14th century and composition techniques of Minimal Music. In his compositions Hentschel draws a cross-section through the history of music and its genres in order to form his own musical expression. Considering his studies of music science in Duesseldorf and previously in Vienna and Dresden, his musical time-jumps appear less surprising.
In 2016, he also was selected by the SHAPE Platform for Innovative Music and Audiovisual Art from Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

After his debut LP Feed The Tape, Orson Hentschel enters new musical terrain wearing old shoes. His second LP Electric Stutter (2017), is only loosely connected to his debut. Whereas Feed The Tape was strongly shaped by Classical Minimal Music, Hentschel now incorporates influences of Trip-Hop and Electronic Pop Music. Since his childhood, he considers artists like Massive Attack, Portishead and Björk as some of his most important sources of inspiration. The influence of this kind of popular music is clearly audible. Hentschel’s new tracks are shorter, more shaped and reduced in the density of their sound material. Pattern-oriented repetitions, which where in the focus of Feed The Tape, now fulfil the function of sophisticated sub-components of the overall composition and are subordinate to the melodic forms or merge with them. Also the amount of sample-based material has decreased in order to create space for synthetically produced sounds with melodic character. Electric Stutter is more complex and more detailed than Feed The Tape. At the same time the reduced density of sound material and the higher amount of melodies form a kind of music that is more easily accessible.

In 2018 Hentschel returns with a two-piece EP showcasing yet another aspect of his musical spectrum. While the first two albums featured only instrumental tracks, Facades are the first two pieces in which Orson Hentschel works with text as a main musical element for his composition, although he approaches vocals from a rather particular perspective. For Hentschel, the spoken word in connection with music is always music and thus not different than any other instrumental input or sound layer. Consequently, he is only interested in the sound of the spoken words on Facades, but not in any content they convey. The idea for Facades was born at a time when Hentschel was struggling with a writer's block for several days in a row. He realised that just writing about nothing was the only honest way for him to express himself through text as a medium. After doing some research on the subject he found John Cage's "Lecture on nothing" which has appeared in the book "Silence" (1961). This encouraged him to work out his idea and he wrote a German text which then Danhee Joe, an accidental acquaintance of his, translated into Korean and spoke with her warm voice. Thus Orson Hentschel used the text in the same way as he uses any sound material - it is transformed into something else, it is being alienated. The spoken words are embedded in repetitive and minimal-minded electronic sound layers which even penetrate primordial technoid territories. However, sticking to his trademark long arcs of suspense, the listener has to wait until the last two minutes of the second track for the first, cathartic beat. 

Describing Orson Hentschel only as a composer of contemporary music does not do him justice. In his self-conception as an audio-visual artist, he creates his own live show, combining lights, visuals and fog to a stunning atmosphere, which cannot be eluded. Often supported by live-drummer Lukas Baumgart, Hentschel delivers a sound, whose energy is physically palpable and electrifies the audience. A live-show generating an intense experience, going to the limit and erasing any sense of time. Orson Hentschel moves perceptions not merely through sheer volume, but with driving repetitions and extensive tension.