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Ernie Althoff

Random Audio Sample: Speleology (solo piano) by Ernie Althoff, from the CD Australian piano miniatures

Ernie Althoff is a Melbourne-based sound artist and instrument maker. He has been active in Australian experimental music since the late 1970s.

Althoff grew up in Geelong, Victoria, and began experimenting with varispeed cassette tape recorders as instruments in the mid-1970s. Althoff cut his compositional and performer teeth at the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre (CHCMC) 1978, performing with the likes of Ron Nagorcka and Warren Burt, whilst developing his own ideas about music.

Initially, Althoff concentrated on the domestic tape recorder as his 'virtuoso instrument', and, in late 1970s and 1980s, developed a range of performance techniques for tape recorder.

Althoff is unique not only for the original textures and sonic elements he creates, often tempered with wry humour, but also for his practically continuous contribution to and participation in the Melbourne experimental music community.

Today, he is best known for his instrument-building. He built his first 'music machine' in 1980. Over the past three decades, he has created a variety of music machines that range from self-playing to those played by Althoff in performance or recording environments.

Clinton Green — current to 2011