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Erkki Kurenniemi

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Erkki Kurenniemi (born 1941) is one of the definite pioneers in the field of Finnish electronic music. He founded an electronic music studio for the Department of Musicology at the University of Helsinki in the early 1960’s. Alongside working on media art, happenings and short films of his own, Kurenniemi built several electronic instruments for himself and also for other people.

The most ambitious of Erkki Kurenniemi’s projects was the series of digital synthesizers, called DIMI, in the early 1970’s. For example, Kurenniemi’s video synthesizer DIMI-O (1970-1971) converted any movements recorded by the video camera into real-time sounds and music. DIMI-S (also known as the “sexophone”) was able to generate sound and light by contact with the skin, reacting to the emotional state of the performers. Kurenniemi also created the first commercially manufactured and marketed microcomputer in 1973, two years before the American MITS Altair 8800. Nowadays many of the Kurenniemi-created instruments are in the possession of Swedish collector Ralph Lundsten, the owner of Andromeda electronic studio.

Alongside his musical career Erkki Kurenniemi has worked as an automation designer at the service of industry and also as a consult for the Science Centre Heureka in Vantaa, Finland.

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