‘Tropendrift’ / ‘Tropical Drift’, a bilingual book by Albert Hagenaars, was published in Poetry Centre Perdu in Amsterdam in December 2003. John Irons signed for the English version, poet/musician Scott Rollins introduced the collection.
Three years later the same publisher, In de Knipscheer, released a CD containing electronic music by Dirk Stromberg, based on 18 poems in English version from the book.

After the CD was sold out, it was not reproduced, until recently, when the 18 compositions appeared on Bandcamp. This is an online music company founded in 2007 and operating in Sea Ranch, California. The entreprise provides music distribution and merchandising, especially catering to independent artists.

The tracks of ‘Tropical Drift’ can be listened to separately as well as a on the full album

Here’s the first track from ‘Tropical Drift’:

‘Bangkok: R & R’


This music can also be heard in the video ‘Bangkok: R & R', released by Bongersproductions in 2010.




Bangkok: R & R

Chieng Mai: The Fortune-Teller

Mae Sai: The Border




Kuala Lumpur

Johore Baru



8 Dec. 1942. 04:15 am


Bugis Street



The Goddess of Love I

The Goddess of Love II

The Goddess of Love III



Dance of the Monkeys I

Dance of the Monkeys II

Dance of the Monkeys III



The Strait


Kranji Memorial



Dirk Johan Stromberg is an American music technologist, composer and improviser. His body of work explores dynamic interaction between performer, technology and performance practice. Designing both hardware and software has led to the development of network-based audio cards, embedded hardware, and e-instruments. Dirk’s music has been performed in Europe, Asia and North America.

He as thrice worked on Art Creation Funds supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore –a major arts development grant. First as an instrument designer in 2010 for Joyce Koh’s ‘On the String’ then as a collaborating composer, system designer, engineer and e-luthier for Robert Casteels’ 2014 work ‘2014:time:space:’, which has subsequently toured Europe and Asia as a collaborative community work. He is currently collaborating on his third Arts Creation Fund as a composer and technology integrator for a premiere exhibition in December 2017.

He has been a composer in residence at STEIM (Studio for Electronic Instrumental Music) and Brooklyn Center for Computer Music and has received recognition for his work from ISAM (Institute for Study in American Music) and MATA (Music at the Anthology). He has also been an artist in Residence twice at SLOSS Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama, which culminated in the trans-disciplinary work ‘Convergence’ in 2016.

Dirk Stromberg has been invited to present his work as a composer and technologist at a number of international conferences and festivals including, Music Tech Fest (Umea, Sweden), Sound Islands ’15 (Singapore), and Temp’Ora (Bordeaux, France).

He has released two albums with the Turkish improvisation group Islak Kopek as a performer and engineer and his music appears on a number of compilations. His 2008 album, ‘Islak Kopek’, was in the Top 20 albums in Turkey for 2009. Publisher In de Knipscheer in Haarlem released a two-CD set of his composition, ‘Tropendrift’, in 2006, a collaboration with Dutch poet Albert Hagenaars.

Dirk Stromberg is a founder of the Contemporary Music Festival in Vietnam (Duong Dai Festival – 2007-Present) and is currently on faculty at LASALLE College of the Arts. He was formally on faculty as Istanbul Bilgi University, Saigon Technology University and School of the Arts (SOTA), Singapore. He holds a Masters of Music from Brooklyn College and a Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University.



I first read ‘Tropical Drift’ in December 2004. I was immediately attracted to it because of its sexuality, longing and beauty. Inspired by ‘Tropical Drift’, I dropped my plans to move to Europe and set off on a three-month trip to Asia to try and gain a better understanding of the aesthetics underlying the book.
My perception of the poetry changed greatly during this trip. The work began to assume the rhythms that friends sang to me, the time of the locations and the new world of sounds that had enveloped me – those of tuk-tuks, wet markets and a language that sang in a melodious monotone.
Financially exhausted by my trip, I headed off to play on a cruise ship in Mexico in order to finance my work on ‘Tropical Drift’.
After a few months on the ship, I returned to NYC to finish translating the sketches into a composition and to record.
During the recording process, I was amazed at the depth of the book. So many layers of meaning and sub-currents surfaced that I had not seen or clearly realized before as I completed the sessions – over a year after first having delved deeply into the book. After a couple of months, the work was on hard disk and I took it with me to be mastered in the Philippines, the country of origin of my wife Sheryl.
When finishing the recording during monsoon rain at the Taal volcano, I realized the work had finally come home.
‘Tropical Drift’ includes only 18 of the 48 spectacular poems of the book. The poems have been selected on the basis of my own personal experiences and the desire to retain the flow and form of the book.
The work consists of two parts, each with three movements, which in turn comprise three subsections. Any movement of the work can either stand independently or play its role in the larger context of the composition, as the listener desires.
The author of the poetry prefers to have the subsections of the movements that deal with the same theme segued together – such as the ‘Goddess of Love’ and ‘Dance of the Monkeys’.
The work is meant for a performance with all parts performed life with the addition of some looping, automated diffusion and artificial intelligence.


Photo: Norvin Teo.


Click here for the article pop-journalist Willem Jongeneelen wrote about ‘Tropical Drift’.

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie van het artikel onder de link hierboven.

Click here for the review Willem Jongeneelen wrote about the CD



Narrator: Douglas Cohen
Flute and piccolo: Andrea La Rose
Saxophones and flute: Christopher Bacas
Guitar: Alfredo Ma
Bass: Andrew Livingston
Computer: Dirk Johan Stromberg and Artificial Intelligence

Andrea La Rose plays flute, writes music and enjoys making weird noises. Her pride and joy since 2002 has been her work as a flutist/composer/board member with the punk-classical antagonists known as Anti-Social Music, who in December 2005 released their debut cd ‘Anti-Social Music Sings the Great American Songbook’. Her playing on her piece ‘Breakbeat’ from that cd has been singled out for praise by quite a few people: “bristles with energy” (Dusted’s Mark Medwin), “righteous” (, “grabbed my attention and deservingly so” (’s PhiLL Ramey), “fascinating” (’s David Dupont).
As a flutist, she’s also worked with the Choro Ensemble, coloratura soprano Patrice Boyd, improv outfit Lente, pop-lullaby crafter a million billion, and sound experimentalist John Jannone. Her beginning band piece hey! was commissioned by an elementary school band in Massapequa Park, NY, and for the premiere o
f ‘Seven Ways to Sunday’ she won an MTC Creative Connections award. NY, and for the premiere of ‘Seven Ways to Sunday’ she won an MTC Creative Connections award.Andrea La Rose resides in Prague and is as active as ever with performing and writing.

Douglas Cohen creates instrumental and electro-acoustic music for abandoned warehouse, airplane, automobile, bar, beach, boom box, bus, cavern, city street, coffee house, concert hall, desert, elevator, ferry, film, gallery, garden, internet, ipod, lake, living room, loft, mountain, neighbouring village, park, porter, pier, radio, river, sea, subway, swimming pool, tavern, television and theatre.
He has collaborated extensively with artists in other fields, including California performance artist Dee McMillin, Texas sculptor James Magee and New York film artist Lawrence Brose.
Cohen studied composition with Louis Andriessen, Morton Feldman, Mauricio Kagel, Mel Powell, David Felder, Lukas Foss, Stephen Mosko, Leonard Stein and Morton Subotnick. He has completed studies in music at the California Institute of the Arts (M.F.A.) and the State University of New York at Buffalo (Ph.D.) where he held the Varèse Fellowship in Music.
His compositions have been performed by notable musicians including the California E.A.R. Unit and the pianist Anthony de Mare. In 1990 and 1992 he was composer in residence at the International Courses for Contemporary Music in Darmstadt, Germany.
He was awarded a composition commission through the Individual Artists Program of the New York State Council on the Arts for the score to Lawrence Brose’s next film, Crossing.
Cohen was an early advocate for digital media on the internet. He organized the NewMusNet Conference of Arts Wire with Pauline Oliveros and later worked for Arts Wire as their Systems Coordinator. He
is a professor at Brooklyn College, Conservatory of Music of the City University of New York, where he continues to teach and lead the school in new directions.

Saxophonist Chris Bacas began his career at age fifteen as a sideman with a club band in York, Pennsylvania. His first teacher was Tom Strohman: a student of Joe Allard, and Professor of Saxophone at Lebanon Valley College. After attending North Texas State, he began his jazz performance career in earnest.In 1983, Chris began touring with the Glen Miller Band. The Tommy Dorsey band was his next professional tour. In 1986 he joined legendary drummer Buddy Rich and remained with him until
Rich's passing in 1987. Next, he played with the Artie Shaw Band.
Chris appeared at Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens; the Nice, Northsea, Cork, Santiago, Montreal, Texaco, Annapolis, JVC New York and Central PA Jazz Festivals; the Hollywood Bowl; LA's Comedy Store; New York's Blue Note and Birdland; Chicago's Jazz Showcase; and Washington DC's Blues Alley and One Step Down.
Chris was a member of the Smithsonian's Jazz Masterworks Orchestra under conductors David Baker and Gunther Schuller. The orchestra's concert series was broadcast on NPR, and a CD sampler was released in 1996. In 1999 Chris was soloist on both flute and saxophone in the Mary Lou Williams' ‘Mass’ which was performed and recorded in the National Cathedral. Chris also toured Russia and Siberia with a group of Russian and American musicians in 1999. Since 1989, Chris has appeared on more than thirty recordings, including three (‘Two Choices’, ‘Leave a Message’ and ‘Exits’) as leader. Since moving to Brooklyn NY in 1999, Chris has performed and recorded with Stefan Bauer, The Sound Assembly, Jonathan Townes (ZOMO),Mario Pavone, Vinson Valega (Consilience) and Christoph Sweitzer. Chris is an honor graduate of Brooklyn College.
He continues to play and tour.

Andrew Livingston was born in 1976 in Dallas, TX. He started playing viola at around age 6. Andrew quickly became interested in multiple instruments and composition. He studied with Steve Curtis privately in Dallas for many years.
Andrew moved to Mississippi to further his studies in composition under the direction of James Sclater. While in Mississippi Andrew composed for a wide variety of projects. He composed for the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra of Mississippi and The Mississippi String Quartet. Livingston scored a short film and wrote for numerous soloists. While in Mississippi, Livingston stayed very busy as a performer. He worked as a cellist, bassist, guitarist and pianist in projects ranging in diversity from R & B groups to chamber orchestras to comedy improv troupes. Livingston moved to New York in 2002 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Composition from Brooklyn College. He co-founded the improvisational group Lente with composer/guitarist Dirk Stromberg. Since completing his degree he has become a full time member of Mike Doughty’s Band as a Double Bass player and continues to compose.
 He continues to compose and collaborate with ThingNY.

Alfredo Marin was born in Costa Rica in 1981 and has been living in New York City since 1995. Alfredo is currently completing an undergraduate degree in music performance, classical guitar, at Brooklyn College CUNY as well as studding music composition there. Music composition has become the main drive in Alfredo’s artistic expression. Within the realm of experimental music, computer music is of great interest to him. Alfredo is seriously involved with the electronic music division at Brooklyn College. He has presented his computer music compositions at the International Electro Acoustic Music Festival (2004 and 2005) and at the CERF Festival 2005, more than 30 years of computer music at Brooklyn College.