Wilhelm Matthies, born 1959, studied visual arts at the Universities of South Carolina and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When studying at U. Of Illinois-Chicago, he began an interest in designing acoustic instruments based on blending aspects of historical instruments from around the world.
In the last few years, his ability to compose visually, design and build a line of instruments and to play the instruments has merged. In particular, he has composed drawings that feature contrasts and blends meant to be performed in poetically oriented (as opposed to narrative) cyclical variations.
When looking at and reflecting on events in his life and in his surroundings, the cyclical variation format seems to him to embody the way that events are often experienced. Each moment in performance is thus connected to every other moment by commenting on the memory of the moment, while also being present to it but also anticipating the future within the boundaries of a particularly contoured event. The overall structure is planned and the details are improvised.
Instrumentally, pieces are mostly bowed, sometimes plucked, but always pushing the edge of sounds that can be made on this current line of instruments called mosesa. Often the sounds are transitioning between harmonics, overtones and purer tones, while also glissandoing. So a main, central idea is that the music expresses moments of impermanence viewed and heard from various simultaneous angles.
Wilhelm Matthies also creates free improvisations using internet collaborations with Paulo Chagas, John Daly, Matthias Boss, Stefan Schmidt, Bird Paradigma, to name a few, and live with Jason Wietlispach, Hall Rammel, Mark Mantel, Paul Westfahl, Cody Steinmann, Rick Ollman, Jay Mollerskov, Rob Lundberg, Albert Wildeman, Julia Miller, Barry Paul Clark, Pat Reinholz, Nicholas Elart and Reid Karris.
Kevin Schlei is a composer, performer, and software developer based in Milwaukee. He is a founding member of the Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra (MiLO), the TC-11 Orchestra (TORCH), and has exhibited installation works and multimedia throughout Milwaukee. He has also collaborated with dance and theater organizations in Milwaukee, and presented his work in the Spark, BEAF, and Unruly Music festivals.
In 2010 he founded Bit Shape Software to develop musical instruments for the iPhone and iPad that take advantage of their unique interface and sensor technologies. He continues his research into multi-touch instruments, having presented his work at NIME conferences in Sydney, New York, and Ann Arbor, and the ICMC-SMC conference in Athens. Schlei teaches computer music at the UWM Peck School of the Arts where he is the Electro-Acoustic Music Center Technical Director.