Torsten M. Abel
ToM Abe

Torsten M. Abel is a german musician and composer addicted to traditional electronic music and works under changing pseudonyms and in numerous side projects for more than 28 years now.

past and present


Torstens music is spanning between melodic-romantic (T M A), Berlin School combined w/ darker moods (Alien Nature & T M A), floating and heavily sequencer-oriented (Sonemark), as well as experimental improvised ambient (Ambient Circle).

Born 1967 in Recklinghausen / Germany Torsten has got very early in touch with musical instruments at his elementary school. Later his first electronic markstone was set by his fathers Dr. Boehm branded Top-Sound DIY-organ. From that moment on his interest in electronic instruments evolved constantly.

In the 80s he discovered the first synth-pop bands and began to copy adopt their style. Mayor influences were Gary Numan, Human League, John Foxx, as well as Thomas Dolby.

In the mid 80s a friend introduced Torsten to the music of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Ashra. Impressed by the unique layers of sound and hypnotic sequences of those Berlin pioneers, he was caught
by the idea to own and play a real synthesizer on his own. He ran into his first gear, including a Siel Kiwi and a Korg EX 800,  joined by a Korg Monopoly and a Roland JX8P short after. That way well equipped he gained his first credits as a composer together with Hans-Joachim Blase, who made his own way not long after.

In the following years the gear list growed constantely, adding Korgs M1 Workstation, DS 8, Wavestation plus
their huge DSS1 sampler, a Roland JD 800, a Yamaha TX81Z and Dr. Boehm Dynamics 12/24. During that time Torsten produced numerous tracks an MC releases together with his working mate Mario Lukascewicz, to whom he´s still connected. While visiting a local music instrument dealer he ran into Dirk Neumann, a musician living in Dortmund. They formed a project called "DiTo", produced a number of tapes together and took part on several music competitions. Due to personal differences and private reasons the duo split early 1992.

Torsten started work on his first solo album "Here, there, everywhere", naming himself "ToM Abe" at that time. But so he didn´t see real success evolving from his musical effords and seeing his son being born in 1994 he decided to quit making music in 1995, sold his complete equipment and concentrating on photography as a creative counterpart.

But his addiction to music never really went away and he later grew to one of those living room artists, taking profit from the new technique of virtual software synthesizers invented by Steinberg that started the PC-mania in home recording studios at that time. A solution that never was really satisfying for Torsten who still lusted after real hardware. Via the german internet forum he was invented to Thomas Welsch of Anyware-Instruments, a german  manufacturer of analogue synthesizers. At that time he developed a new semi-modular analogue synthesizer,  oriented on the famous Oberheim SEM architecture. The SEMtex XL should mark the first step in Torstens refreshed enthusiasm for music hardware. Still impressed by the hugh towers of hardware Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream used in the past, it was that memory of those big modular synth-monsters that triggerd him again. Unaffordable in the 70s/80s the market has changed massivly: more and more small manufacturers in the world started building modular synthesizers again, making them available for a bargain compared to the past time. Torsten decided to go after his dream of a modular synth under his very own hands. He encompanied his SEMtex with two cabinets of the TMSS/Theis-Modular, the Anyware-Instruments InSEQt
Analogue Sequencer, a collection of moduls bei Doepfer, MFB and Analogue Solutions, plus several custom built moduls and a sequencer by Bratigel. Torstens "Downstairs-Studio" still runs a Steinberg Cubase environment with VST plug-ins on a stationary PC as well as an audio-notebook and an ancient Atari ST surrounding a Roland JD 800
By the end of 2006 Torsten got in touch with Thomas Hermann, founder of the Ambient Circle project. The AC is a non-profit network of musicians located in and around the german Ruhr-area, who meet more
or less regularly for public sessions of ambient electronic music, performed live, improvise and unreheased.
Outtakes of these sessions are made available for free from the Ambient Circle website. Torsten joined the AC in January 2007 for the first time. Over the last years he joined the AC for numerous sessions and live events, such as the Night of Open Churches 2007 and 2009, live appearnce on the annual meeting of Schallwende eV and a concert at the Gasometer Oberhausen, the largest indoor venue in Europe.

Working with the Ambient Circle Torsten met Wolfgang Barkowski, a musician based in Oberhausen. Wolfgang has released several albums under the "Alien Nature" project for the german label SynGate. Being impressed by Torstens musical skills and his growing modular sound system he spontaniously asked for a collaboration. Sharing the same vibes they released their debut CD "Medusa"  in January 2009 as "Alien Nature & T M A" on Lothar Lubitz´ SynGate label. That way connected to the label December 2008 saw the release of the CD "Escape"
by "T M A", which was nothing less than Torstens debut album  "Here, there, everywhere" from 1993. The radio show "Codos Traumreisen" of the ElDOradio station became the first platform introducing "T M A" and
the collaboration with "Alien Nature". In May 2009 Torsten and Wolfgang debuted live on the Satzvey Castle Electronic Festival.

Next stepstone was again a collaboration initiated by his work with the Ambient Circle, when Frank Makowski joined the AC in early 2008. Frank claimes to be well known in the german electronic music scene for his releases and live work with "Tranquillity", "The Speed of Dark" and "[´ramp]". Both discovered parallels in their addiction to electronic music and synthesizers and founded the formation "Sonemark" in 2009 followed by concentrated recording sessions in summer/eve 2009 and playing a radio concert at Codo´s by the end of the year. A debut album is scheduled for release in 2011 as well as ingoing live activities.

Together with the Ambient Circle Torsten has won the Schallwelle music award 2009 for Best Newcomer. Sponsored by the awared the Ambient Circle has released a Cd in February 2010.

2010 saw the release of the second T M A - CD "Sequentrips" in May, as well as the release of the second Alien Nature & T M A album "Hydra" in November. Torsten released his solo work SynthsOrganics in November 2011. SynthsOrganics is a more particular project which distances itself from purely electronic works of T M A and Alien Nature. Its an audacious album where Torsten mixes the tones of his synths and sequencers, as analog as digital, to tones of more conventional instruments instruments like guitars, played by Martin Rohleder who besides having helped T M A in the composition on most tracks amazes by a superb guitar play, percussions, didgeridoos and
bullroarers. All 3 albums feature guitarist Martin "Martinson" Rohleder. Inspired by this fruity
collaboration other projects are planned together with Martin. Release date for the next T M A album
RAL 5010 was April 2013 at E-Day.