The music of Berlin-based composer and guitarist Torsten Papenheim (*1980) is located somewhere between melody and noise – to be taken either as a combination or a counterpoint. His music can be heard on several records and during the recent years he played numerous concerts in Germany and all over Europe.

Torsten Papenheim is playing with long-term guitar-drums-duo rant (together with Merle Bennett), with his quartet Tru Cargo Service and with Karm – a duo with saxophonist Michal Wróblewski from Prague. Sunswept Sunday – his ensemble together with Stuttgart-based percussionist Daniel Kartmann – is performing the music of Duke Ellington in a unique way.

Papenheim is also performing as soloist and writes chamber music for different line-ups. In his compositions he often works with unusual tunings and deliberately uses ambiguities to enable improvisational freedom in the interpretation of his works.

From 2004 to 2016 he was running the CD label schraum.

Detailed biography

Torsten Papenheim was born in 1980 near Göttingen and has lived in Berlin since 2000. He works as a composer, guitarist and music teacher and is primarily concerned with the combination and juxtaposition of melody and sound. He studied guitar and composition with private teachers in Göttingen, Hannover and Cologne. His music can be heard on numerous records, he played concerts and festivals in Germany and all over Europe. In his compositions Papenheim often works with unusual tunings and deliberately uses ambiguities to enable improvisational freedom in the interpretation of his works. As a performing musician Torsten Papenheim is mainly active with the following projects:

TP (guitar, tapes, minidiscs)
Torsten Papenheim’s solo works deal with time and repetition, subtle changes and harsh contrasts. The live sets are compositions, re-improvisations, concerts, performances, sound installations…

Merle Bennett (drums) and TP (guitar)
RANT explores the possibilities of duo playing to the extreme and has developed a very unique musical identity.
Since 2004 RANT has released five beautiful albums and played numerous tours in Germany and around.

Michal Wróblewski (alto sax & clarinet) and TP (acoustic guitar & objects)
With a purely acoustic setup this czech-german duo builds sonic spaces way beyond the familiar sounds of their instruments. Playing together in their own strict idiom, KARM focuses on subtle developments and noisy – but quiet – structures.

Alexander Beierbach (tenor sax), TP (guitar), Berit Jung (double bass), Christian Marien (drums)
Oscillating between compositions and collective improvisations TRU CARGO SERVICE creates a raw sound dealing with density and space. Since 2017 this ensemble succesfully displays its understanding of playing exhilarating quartet music today.

Daniel Kartmann (drums, hackbrett, cornetto) and TP (guitar, melodica, snare drum)
SUNSWEPT SUNDAY is dedicated to the music of Duke Ellington. When performing Ellington’s music Stuttgart-based percussionist Daniel Kartmann and Torsten Papenheim focus on a central aspect of Ellington’s music – timbre.

Torsten Papenheim also works together with visual artist Marcel Grabsch in various contexts:
Since 2008 Grabsch has designed numerous covers and posters for several projects of Papenheim. Together they did two outstanding exhibitions in Berlin: „Suono Postumo“ (2017) and „Tracking“ (2011).

From 2004 to 2016 Torsten Papenheim was running the CD label schraum together with Merle Bennett and Axel Haller. Over they years schraum has presented twenty well received advantgarde releases from an international cast.

Sunswept Sunday „Halfway To Dawn“ (LP + CD, Ma Records, 2023)
Tru Cargo Service „Schattenlos“ (CD, Tiger Moon Records, 2022)
Karm „Kram“ (CD, Ma Records, 2022)
Torsten Papenheim „Hellerau“ (CD, creative sources, 2021)
Tru Cargo Service „Dear Passengers“ (CD, Tiger Moon Records, 2020)
Torsten Papenheim „Tracking / Racking“ (MC, Tanuki Records, 2019)
rant „to raise hell as we go along“ (CD, Unit, 2019)
rant „margo flux“ (CD, schraum, 2015)
rant „land“ (schraum 2011)
Torsten Papenheim „Some of the things we could be“ (CD, schraum, 2009)
Torsten Papenheim „Mülheim an der Ruhr“ (7inch, flashbox, 2007)
rant „a direct sensuous pleasure“ (CD, schraum, 2006)
Aubry / Chessex / Papenheim „Swift Machine“ (CD, creative sources, 2005)
rant „seumsund / sundseum“ (CD, schraum, 2004)
Chessex / Haller / Papenheim „kainkwatett“ (CD, schraum, 2004)

„Syntax III“ for french horn and percussion (Berlin, 2019)
„Nachtprogramm“ for trombone, bass and piano (Cologne, 2017)
„Marg Bar Hichkas“ for two pianos and three snare drums (Berlin, 2016)
„Shudder Studies” for solo guitar (Hamburg, 2015)
„Syntax II“ for violoncello and bass (Vienna, 2013)
„BT N RS” for french horn, guitar, harp and piano (Helsinki, 2013)

Marcel Grabsch & Torsten Papenheim „Suono Postumo“ (Berlin, 2017)
Marcel Grabsch & Torsten Papenheim „Tracking“ (Berlin, 2011)


Whisper / Whistle (2015 – 2018)
Christoph Funabashi (guitar) and TP (guitar)

Garagenoper Kollektiv (2010 – 2014)
Almut Schlichting (saxes), Christoph Funabashi (guitar), Merle Bennett (drums), Laura Siegmund (dance), TP (composition)

Kainkwatett (2001 – 2005)
Antoine Chessex (saxes), Axel Haller (bass), TP (guitar)

Swift Machine (2002 – 2005)
Gilles Aubry (computer), Antoine Chessex (saxes), TP (guitar)

Der Automatische König (1998 – 2001)
Peter Kalkowski (alto sax), TP (guitar), Josef Hilker (bass), Christian Dreher (drums)