Rafał Ryterski is a co-creator of the gen~.rate composer collective and a specialist in the impossible in electronic music. He performs both in clubs and at festivals but is also active in the fields of installations and opera.
Rafał Ryterski was born in 1992 in Gdynia and learned piano in music schools, both at the primary and secondary level. In 2017, he graduated in composition with a multimedia specialisation from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, then became a student of the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. His teachers included Krzysztof Baculewski, Barbara Okoń-Makowska, Sławomir Wojciechowski, Juliana Hodkinson, Simon Steen-Andersen and Niels Rønsholdt. He also expanded his education with courses such as Next Generation at the Donaueschinger Musiktage or Sommerkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. His music has been performed at numerous festivals and conferences: in addition to the above-mentioned Darmstadt, he has also performed many times at the Warsaw Autumn (main programme and accompanying events), Music Days in Gdańsk, Licences in Paris, and Elementi in Kraków (also as a speaker).
Ryterski is particularly active as an organiser of musical life, including numerous concerts with his own music and with colleagues from the gen~.rate composer collective (2015-2018): Aleksandra Kacy, Teoniki Rożynek and Żaneta Rydzewska. In recent years, he has been performing live behind a console more and more often, e.g. at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Fala Dźwięku, and Radio Kapitał.
As Ryterski started in Adriana Borowska and Jan Topolski’s interview titled A Little Drag, a Little Control Freak: Conversations with Rafał Ryterski:
The Musical Milestones of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio
I have always been interested in the combination of reality and virtuality. If something is virtual, can it become real? Where is the border between the two? This has been an important element for me since 'P.E.R.C.S.' (2014), where electronic sounds were superimposed on acoustic sounds. (…) Surely it is also important for me to ‘cheat straightforwardly’: we see and hear the guitar on stage, but at the same time we also hear it from the speakers and we know very well that it is a guitar from VSTi instruments. But does that diminish its realness? How does it relate to today’s songs? I consider 'Disco Bloodbath' (2018) to be the best example of how this approach can be developed. It was inspired primarily by drag ball culture, as well as the gaming community. In games, we also deal with reality and virtuality at the same time – the player plays a character that at the same time exists and doesn’t exist, the same as in ball culture.
Ryterski’s music is an example of post-digital aesthetics, where the medium significantly influences both the content (internet alienation and hate-speech in Anonymous) and the form (glitch distortions in Saudade). The composer is equally inspired by academic, club and electronic music, including such artists as Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. Recently, he has been increasingly incorporating elements of regular rhythm or beat (taking control), as well as using quotations from popular music (such as Cheryll Lynn’s Got To Be Real, Disco Bloodbath). An important role in the latter work is played by the play between virtual and real, instrumental and electronic elements – a theme that has been present since the beginning of Ryterski’s activity (P.E.R.C.S.). For years Rafał Ryterski has been persistently broadening the ways of penetrating and transforming sounds (through VST plug-ins) and their juxtaposition with the visual layer, which he defines as composition sound design Nici Mojr (ed. transl. Moirai' Threads). His works deal with both mythological-philosophical Względności Chronosa (Relativities of Chronos) and strictly personal topics, including chronic illness (P.E.R.C.S.) or queer and gender (Genderfuck). A special place in his work is occupied by cooperation with visual artists (Anna Kaleta-Kunert, Łukasz Radziszewski), during which he has a chance to take a fresh look at stereotypical sounds
Ryterski’s constant formal and expressive search results in music which is more and more original, although, at the same time, it reveals a number of similarities to the work of his peers, such as an interest in defects, beats, and performance. At times this coincides with the postulates of relational music from the point of view of the philosopher Harry Lehman, at others we can feel the influence of the informal patron of this whole generation – composer Simon Steen-Andersen. As an impulsive extrovert, Ryterski reacts vividly to his environment, for example by dealing directly with LGBTQ and non-normative attitudes. In 2018 in Darmstadt he broke his long-existing stage fright and now realises himself most fully in various kinds of live acts – sometimes as a DJ, sometimes as a drag queen. At the same time, he does not give up composing for instrumental ensembles but rather transfers certain elements (gestures, clothing) in order to enliven the convention of new music.
Music from Poland in 2018: Young Composers Finally Come into Bloom
Selected solo works:
- Dialogi i Zniekształcenia for bass clarinet and double bass (2014)
- P.E.R.C.S. for drums, movement and electronics (2014)
- Saudade: Muzyka Przesterowań, electronic music (2015)
- Atlas for choir, 11 instruments, electronics and visuals (2015)
- Względności Chronosa for accordion and a sampler (2015)
- Powrót Apolla for harp, piano and electronics (2016)
- [one page]MORE for 4 electric guitars and electronics (2016)
- Nici Mojr for 3 violas, electronics and visualisations (2016)
- Meme War for accordion, viola and electronics (2017)
- Anonymous, opera for 4 soloists, 14 instruments, electronics, visuals and internet media (2017)
- di/am/sy/od for bass clarinet and double bassinet (2017)
- Genderfuck for drums and video (2017)
- Disco Bloodbath. Got to Be Real for a band (2018)
- Taking Control for a band (2018)
- Archangel for vibraphone, flute, clarinet and guitar (2019)
Selected installations and collective works:
- Silence Inside, a multimedia installation, in collaboration with Anna Kaleta-Kunert (2015)
- Music for the film Strzyga (Strigoi) by Kamil Krukowski (2016)
- Music for the interactive film First We Feel. Then We Fall directed by Jakub Wróblewski (2016)
- Słońca, multimedia installation, in cooperation with Łukasz Radziszewski (2017)
- Nightly, music for the mobile app (2017-2018)
Originally written in Polish by Jan Topolski, translated into English by P. Grabowski, December 2019