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The Studio for Electronic Music (SEM) of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) a German public-broadcasting institution, is an important element in the development of electronic music. Founded in October 18, 1951, SEM was the first of its kind music facility, founded on the concept of mixing electronically synthesised sounds to introduce a new genre of music.

Principal Innovators of Electronic Music

The concept of establishing a studio for creating electronic music was the brainchild of three people: Werner Meyer-Eppler, Robert Beyer, and Herbert Eimert. who for years had developed and experimented on the technical requirements for creating electronic music.

Werner Meyer-Eppler (April 30,1913 – July 08, 1960) was a Belgian-born German physicist who held lectures at the Institute for Phonetics and Communication Research of Bonn University. He was also well-known for being an experimental acoustician, a phoneticist and information theorist. The development of the basic processes of electronic music, particularly the creation of musical compositions directly on magnetic tape, is attributed to Meyer-Eppler’s experiments at the Bonn Institute.

Herbert Eimert ( April 08,1897 – December 15, 1972) was a composer, radio producer, journalist, and musicologist, who had served as the first director of the Studio for Electronic Music. Since his youth, Elmert had a penchant for revolutionizing music by organizing concerts using noise instruments. During the 1920s he wrote a book that delved on the theory of atonal music, which unfortunately resulted from his expulsion from a composition class at the Cologne Musikhochschule.

Robert Beyer, a professional sound mixer had worked at the WDR at the time of founding, as a sound editor. He brainstorned the concept of electronic music with Eppler and Elmert, by bringing forward his ideas about timbre-oriented music.

Through the years of experimentations and development of instruments that made electronic music a new music genre, the studio became home to musicians, composers and artists coming from all over the world. They were welcome to use the latest equipment, albeit the technology at the time was limited to instruments for mixing usual soundtracks as a means of creating original compositions. Nonetheless, the instrument is still in wide use up to the present.

Artists used the Studio for Electronic Music to produce electronic music until its closure in 2000. In October 18, 2017 Google Doodle marked the importance of the studio in the history of music, by altering the Google logo to mark the studio’s 66th anniversary.

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Electronic music is basically musical sound produced by electronically processing vibrations, like those created by electronic oscillators coming in waveforms. They are then recorded and edited and subsequently reproduced with the use of loudspeakers. Generally, electronic music is sound captured in tape, to be edited and recorded later into a more permanent form.

This type of music can now be produced and performed as “live electronic music,” played back as it is through loudspeakers, often times in combination with other musical instruments including vibrations coming from some chance elements. Using software, the composer then develops the electronic sounds into a musical composition.

This is the world of music into which Tomas Barfod, a drummer and a dance music DJ had evolved in, ever since electronic music captured his interest and musical imagination.

Who is Tomas Barfod?

Tomas Barfod, is a native of Copenhagen whose introduction to music as a drum-playing 10-year old youth initially led to a career as drummer of the duo Filur with feĺlow Danish, Kasper Bjorke. In 2003, together with Tomas Høfting (singer and bassist) and Jeppe Kjellberg (guitarist), Tomas as drummer, founded the “WhoMadeWho” band.

After nearly ten years of musical experience as band drummer, Barfod started producing his own music. In 2012, he debuted as a solo electronic music artist by releasing “Salton Sea,” an album containing a mesh of sophisticated electronically produced music. Barfod describes “Salton Sea” as some kind of laptop album, which he hardly expected to reap acclaim and praises.

The success of his debut album, set a higher bar for his next project. To which Tomas devoted extra time in working with analogue instruments, and in developing string arrangements with “WhoMadeWho” guitarist Jeppe Kjellberg.

Year 2014, saw the release of Barfod’s second album, “Love Me,” where his coalescence of anàlog and real music were enhanced by the vocals of Nina Kinert (Pulsing), by singer-songwriter Luke Temple (Bell House) and by twitching of synths by Eddie Chacon (Happy). “Love Me” is multi-textured as it presents electronic music experience between danceable sounds softened by Nina’s soft, evocative croon.

After “Love Me,” Tomas Barfod released two more albums: “Glory” in 2015 and “Paloma” 2017.