Ernst Karel works with analog electronics and with location recordings, sometimes separately, sometimes in combination, to create audio pieces that move between the abstract and the documentary. Karel's audio work includes electroacoustic improvisation and composition, location recording, sound for nonfiction vilm, and solo and collaborative sound installations. Previous work has involved fieldwork-based research in the anthropology of sound, live engineering for public radio, other audio engineering, CD mastering, etc.
Karel has been using modular analog electronics in live performance since 1998. Current collaborative projects include the long-running electroacoustic duo EKG. Musicians with whom Karel has performed on trumpet and/or analog electronics include Jason Ajemian, Jim Baker, Matt Bauder, Jeb Bishop, Olivia Block, Blowhole, Alessandro Bosetti, Lucio Capece, Bobby Conn, Tim Daisy, Kevin Drumm, David Grubbs, Boris Hauf, Chris Heenan, Giuseppe Ielasi, Jeph Jerman, Annette Krebs, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Helen Mirra, Toshimaru Nakamura, Jeff Parker, members of Polwechsel, Key Ransone, Vic Rawlings, Gino Robair, Aram Shelton, Aiko Shimada, TV Pow, Ken Vandermark, Sabine Vogel, Weasel Walter, Otomo Yoshihide, Michael Zerang, and others. His often collaborative work in electroacoustic improvisation and composition has been released on Another Timbre, BoxMedia, Cathnor, Dead CEO, Formed, Gruenrekorder, Kuro Neko, Locust, Lucky Kitchen, and Sedimental record labels, among others. Vilms for which Karel has edited and mixed sound include Sweetgrass (2009), Foreign Parts (2010), Leviathan (2012), People's Park (2012), and Yumen (2013).
Karel is currently technical advisor and sound engineer for Non-Event, and lab manager for the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, where as Lecturer on Anthropology, he teaches a course in sonic ethnography.