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. As a performing musician Torsten Papenheim is active as soloist, with guitar-drums-duo rant and his quartet Tru Cargo Service. Besides that he has recently established two new groups: Karm (with Prague-based reeds player Michal Wróblewski) and a Duke-Ellington-project together with Daniel Kartmann, percussionist from Stuttgart. In his compositions Papenheim 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 in Niedersachsen 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, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Belgium and in the Netherlands. 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 as soloist, with his quartet Tru Cargo Service and with rant:

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) & TP (guitar)
rant exists 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.

Tru Cargo Service
Alexander Beierbach (tenor sax), TP (guitar), Berit Jung (double bass), Christian Marien (drums)
Oscillating between composition and collective improvisation 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.

Torsten Papenheim also works together with visual artist Marcel Grabsch in various contexts:
Since 2008 Grabsch has designed numerous posters and covers for several projects of Papenheim. Together they did outstanding two 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.

From 2010 to 2018 Torsten Papenheim regularly collaborated with Hamburg-based guitarist Christoph Funabashi. Having started working together bringing Papenheims chamber opera „Schattenspiel“ on stage, both later performed together as Whisper / Whistle. Papenheim also recorded and co-produced Funabashi’s recording of „The book of heads“ by John Zorn.

Torsten Papenheim „Hellerau“ (CD, creative sources, 2021)
Torsten Papenheim „Shudder Studies“ (DL, Tanuki Records, 2020)
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“ (7 inch, 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)

Recent compositions:
“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)

Former ensembles:
Whisper / Whistle (2015 – 2018)
Christoph Funabashi (guitar) & TP (guitar)
Garagenoper Kollektiv (2010 – 2014)
Almut Schlichting (saxes), Christoph Funabashi (guitar), Merle Bennett (drums), Laura Siegmund (dance), TP (composition)
Kainkwatett (2000 – 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)