Composing music and crafting audiovisual art through his own technologies, Robert Henke expands on electronic music's legacy to reveal the soul hiding in the machine. Atmospheric and cinematic one moment, maniacal yet meticulously constructed the next, Monolake's creations immerse audiences in a complex, expressive, laser-lit world.
An inventor to the core, Henke is known for his range of emotionally evocative high tech music and ever-evolving audiovisual installations. After joining Basic Channel offshoot label Imbalance Computer Music, Henke co-founded Monolake in 1995 with Gerhard Behles (also his Ableton Live co-inventor). The duo immediately joined the legendary Chain Reaction minimal techno label, becoming one of the key icons of a new electronic club culture emerging in Berlin after the fall of the Wall. For more than a decade now, Monolake has been Henke’s solo concern—true to his nature as restless researcher and scientist, he's pushed the project into new territories, maintaining a signature balance of cerebral cool with dynamic club vibrations. Henke's cutting-edge and carefully designed laser and A/V shows, under his own name and as Monolake, render the mechanical invisible in pursuit of a truly human, coexistent experience. Henke's real-time laser performance series Lumière has seen three iterations since 2013, each building on a custom software framework. Among recent collaborations, Henke and artist-designer Christopher Bauder created 3D kinetic installation Deep Web, featuring 12 high precision lasers and a matrix of 175 moving balloons.
A consummate performer who delights in the immediacy of audience, Monolake performs two live surround shows at MUTEK, unleashing a sonic storm in Montréal's immersive PY1 pyramid space—augmented with visuals by Diagraf.
Société des arts technologiques [SAT]
Composing through technology, Robert Henke exposes the soul hiding in the machine, revealing himself as something of an heir to the tradition of German utopian futurism. At times atmospheric and cinematic, at others maniacal yet meticulously constructed – or affective and corporeal in its effects – this is quantum science as music.
An engineer, innovator and artist, Henke is known for creating emotionally evocative high tech music and visuals, while wielding hardware and software of his own invention. Founded in 1995 with Gerhard Behles (co-inventor of Ableton Live), Monolake was originally part of the legendary Chain Reaction family. For more than a decade now, Monolake has been Henke’s solo concern – true to his nature as restless researcher and scientist, he's pushed the project into new territories, maintaining a signature balance of cerebral cool with dynamic club vibrations. Known for his mind-blowing, cutting-edge and carefully designed laser and A/V shows both as Monolake and under his own name, he is always able to render the mechanical invisible in his pursuit of a truly human and contemporaneous experience.
A wizard of sonic physics, a masterful creator of enveloping sound environments and a consummate performer who delights in the immediacy of audience, MUTEK is pleased to present Monolake as a representative of Berlin's indisputable position as the soul centre of electronic music's past, present and future.
Inter_Connect Berlin is part of “Germany @ Canada 2017 – Partners from Immigration to Innovation”, a special cultural program presented by the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy highlighting the German-Canadian friendship in honour of Canada's sesquicentennial year.
Who: Multidisciplinary artist and engineer Robert Henke, co-inventor of Ableton Live
Style: Techno, minimalist, rhythmically inventive, sound design
Labels: Chain Reaction, Monolake, Imbalance Computer Music
Latest work: MONOLAKE 5 EP series on ICM
MUTEK performances: 2001, 2003, 2005, 2012, 2014
Next: Surround sound performance at Espace Reunion, Montréal, March 25, 2016
Berlin-based engineer, innovator and artist Robert Henke creates emotionally evocative high tech music and visuals wielding hardware and software of his own invention. Driven by multidisciplinary compulsions, he’s designed mechanical and light-based installation works as well as the ever evolving Lumière project, his audiovisual composition for lasers and sound.
In the mid-90s, Henke cofounded minimalist dubtechno duo MONOLAKE with Gerhard Behles and together created the now-industry-standard Ableton Live software. Originally part of the legendary Chain Reaction family, MONOLAKE has been Henke’s solo concern for more than a decade, pushing the project’s dimensions, sometimes into audiovisual realms, while maintaining his signature balance of cerebral cool with dynamic club vibrations.
This year he began to release a series of 5 singles, to be collected into an album by summer. Described as “cracking techno-funk with crisply dubbed textures and sci-fi synth motifs,” Henke brings this new iteration of MONOLAKE to Montréal for the first time since 2012, and on the heels of his laserific presentation of Lumière at our 15th Anniversary in 2014. His set at AVANT_MUTEK will showcase his precision rhythm and sound in a special surround set up.
Monolake is the solo musical project of sound designer, software engineer and multi-disciplinary artist Robert Henke. Originally part of the legendary Chain Reaction family, Henke has released his last seven full-lengths of heady, bass-driven leftfield sounds on his own Monolake/Imbalance imprint. Equally indebted to dub and minimal techno, Henke’s robust brew of rhythms frequently toys with the supernatural. Lush, unsettling, and created with Raster Noton-like precision, his sound design is the result of his fertile imagination and computer wizardry combined. Henke has played at MUTEK on many occasions (2005, 2003, 2001). On his last visit, he presented Atom, a masterful collaboration with visual artist Christopher Bauder that featured a large, shimmering matrix of 64 helium-filled balloons. Henke’s performances are always part-technological exploration, part-optimal sound manipulation, total assault of the senses. For this year's conceptual presentation of his latest album, Ghosts, Henke will offer immersive surround sound along with otherworldly real time visuals, created and performed live by dutch audiovisual artist Tarik Barri, with whom Robert Henke collaborates since 2009.