Visual artist and musician Hal Rammel has been involved in the creative arts for the past 45 years. His work as a visual artist encompasses drawing, sculpture and collage, cartooning, and, most actively over the past ten years, photography (pinhole and alternative cameraless processes). His photographs have been shown at the Wustum Museum of Fine Art (Racine, WI), Gallery 1926 (Chicago), Woodland Pattern Book Center (Milwaukee), Corbett vs Dempsey (Chicago), and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheyboygan, WI) and have been reproduced on the covers of compact discs released by Hat Art (Zurich), Penumbra Music (Grafton, WI), and Long Arms (Moscow).
As a composer and improviser he utilizes musical instruments of his own design and construction, releasing recordings on his own label Penumbra Music. During the 1980s he was an active member of Chicago's experimental and improvised music scene performing frequently with Gene Coleman, Michael Zerang, John Corbett, Terri Kapsalis, Lou Mallozzi, Jim Baker, Don Meckley and others. In the 1990s he performed at numerous music festivals in the United States and Canada including the Newfoundland Sound Symposium (in 1996 in duo with Johannes Bergmark), the No Music Festival (in 1998 with the Nihilist Spasm Band), and several others. Presently residing in southeastern Wisconsin he performs and records in a variety of projects with Steve Nelson-Raney, Thomas Gaudynski, Jason Wietlispach, Chris Rosenau, and Jon Mueller in various ensembles that have included Audiotrope, Raccoons, I-Beam, and Prestige Atlantic Impulse releasing recordings with some of these ensembles on Crouton Records, Soutrane, Utech Records, and Necessary Arts. In 2007 he organized and led the quartet The LOST DATA Project (with Lou Mallozzi, Jim Schoenecker, and Jon Mueller) in performances at Woodland Pattern Book Center (Milwaukee), Elastic (Chicago), and the Sugar Maple (Milwaukee).
As an author Hal Rammel has written on musical instrument invention for Experimental Musical Instruments, Rubberneck, and Musical Traditions. His full-length study of surrealism and American folklore Nowhere in America: The Big Rock Candy Mountain and Other Comic Utopias (including discussion of Blind Blake, Bo Diddley, Al Capp and the Shmoo, Jack Benny, and Spike Jones and Red Ingle) was published by University of Illinois Press in 1991. His liner note essays may be found on recordings released by Atavistic Records and CRI, most recently for the Unheard Music reissue of Sun Ra's Strange Strings.
Hal Rammel is the host of Alternating Currents on WMSE (91.7FM) in Milwaukee every Sunday night from 6 until 9 p.m. and curates the Alternating Currents Live performance series at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee.
Two reviews of the "Like Water Tightly Wound (new on Crouton Records):
Brian Olewnick in Bagatellen
Tom Sekowski in Gaz-Eta
A brief article on the triolin on Gérard Nicollet's blog.