Bob Ostertag does more solo concerts than anything else. His solo repertoire is extensive, and currently includes four very different sets of music, each about 45-55 minutes. As two sets generally make for a full concert, he can present two full evenings nights of completely different solo music.
Bob Ostertag Plays the Aalto.
Improvisations using a gamepad to play an “Aalto” virtual modular synthesizer. The music is intense, mesmerizing, and highly improvisational. As this is Ostertag’s newest project, the music is not yet available on any recording. This music could be played in a club, an art gallery, a yoga studio, or, ideally, in an large outdoor space at night where speakers can be placed very far apart: a park, public square or plaza, forest or field. The performance works well with a stereo sound system, and even better in quadraphonic sound. All that is required for a quadraphonic concert is 4 bi-amped speakers (no mixer, mics, or monitor speakers required).
Ostertag uses a standard gamepad, commonly used to play computer games, to manipulate fragments of computer game music. It s very improvisational, and works very well as a performance: Ostertag is alone onstage, no computer screen, holding just a gamepad, eyes closed. At this point nearly everyone has used a gamepad at one time or another, so this issn electronic music concert which many people can understand the “performance.”
“More hardcore than any death metal.” – Cody B.
“Brain…Interface…Overloading. Must remove. Unplug!” —MOG.com
“He’s not selling a lot of records, but he is paving the way for artists of the future.” – Everything is Pop
Sooner or Later
This is probably the best known of all Bob’s work. The entire piece is made from a recording of a young boy burying his father in El Salvador in the 1980s during the civil war there (a war in which Bob was involved on the side of the movement trying to overthrow the regime).
Bob performed the work in the late 1980s/early 90s, then stopped as it is too intense to play very often. He has revived it in preparation for performing it next summer at a music festival that takes place in a former guerrilla camp in the mountains of El Salvador not far from where the recording was made.
Bob Ostertag did not simply create a political piece but a musical reality, in which sampling technology is used in a significant way for the first time. The music encircles reality, decomposes it into music and recomposes it until reality is no longer able to escape. It is this clarity that makes Sooner or Later great music, a music that has something to do with life again. — Die Zeit
New Improvised Music
For most of the last 30 years, open improvisation has been Bob’s main performance practice. For improvised sets, he will be using a new “instrument” he has just completed that involves a laptop, two iPads, and software of his own design.