30 Quai des Charbonnages
1080 Bruxelles
Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology

Hans Roels

About Hans' residency at iMAL

At the residency in iMAL Hans will develop an in situ music performance with a hybrid wind instrument. During the Covid crisis he built a first version of this digital-acoustic instrument: a synthesizer is played by selecting keys on a keyboard and blowing into two microphones (a stereo breath controller). Both 'normal' and so-called vibration speakers - professional, cheap and small ones - are attached to local objects (for example: the heating system, a rain pipe, dustbin, etc.) and this makes the objects co-vibrate with specific pitches and timbres. The speakers are spread over the public space and produce the sound. The musician intuitively plays with this spatialisation by controlling the blowing direction into the two microphones.

During the residency Hans won't work on the whole installation but focus on the software development for the performance. In the first phase (last year) the project was entangled with other projects of software development, instrument building and composition. By organizing and redesigning the Pure Data patches Hans wants to make the performance and wind instrument more flexible and modular. From previous in-situ performances he has learnt that modularity is extremely important to adapt to local situations.

Read more about the project here.


Since 2015 Hans Roels has been fascinated by musical performances in locations outside the concert hall or exhibition space. He investigates forms of interaction in order to integrate the concert environment (residents, passers-by, animals, plants, etc.) into the performance through sound and music. Before and after 2015, he also explored in his music far-reaching forms of simultaneity and polyphony in which parts with their own tempo, timbre and tonal system are combined. The rapid alternation of styles and the search for open forms of notation that give the performer more responsibility also play an important role. In older works, his interest was in the 'unstable border area' between music and noise, where it seems as if the fragile music is almost falling apart. In some of his works, a clear political undertone is noticeable.

Hans Roels has created works for various settings and media: acoustic ensembles, chamber music works with live electronics, works for computer-controlled piano with pianist playing simultaneously in the piano, live algorithmic pieces with music machines and acoustic compositions for multimedia installation or self-built sound objects.