6 channel soundscape composition
J. Milo Taylor, George Brock-Nannestad, Dirk Specht
Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
This paper approaches noise from a media anarcheological paradigm closely informed by Siegfried Zielinski’s notion of “deep media time”. The observation that noise is not absolute, but is variable is somewhat banal; yet if the temporal, methodological and aesthetic scope is extended beyond the conventional discourses around noise what implications for practice may be drawn?
The origins of the paper derive from a research fellowship undertaken at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln which dealt with sound, noise and listening as practice-based research methodologies. A selection of discarded shellac records (cultural noise) forms the material basis of this study. This media detritus contains program material created during a problematic yet arbitrary period of Cologne’s past (1929-62 – this period defined simply by the contingent array of shellacs found). These discs also offer today’s listeners traces and scars of the damage and decay these traumatised objects have experienced in their lifetime.
These material artefacts are noiseful in many regards: a conventional approach to archiving or preserving these might involve media migration into the digital domain after which processes of “noise-cleaning” may be undertaken. Such cleaning may aim to remove “noise” from “signal”. Yet how is such difference established? There are plentiful examples of problematic media cleansing – and a central issue explored in this paper is this distinction between what the authors frame as “primary” and “secondary” information.
Hence, issues around the context and techniques used during the original recording (e.g. frequency transfer functions), the means by which this recording is produced as a capitalist object (e.g. post-emphasis curves), and the subsequent unintended inscriptions upon the media surface in the course of the objects’ biography (e.g. careless handling) provide a deep media perspective upon the noisy media object.
11th September 2012: Die Alter Feurwache, Cologne
12th September 2012: Scheune Schall, Stommeln
Custom electronics,, live video (vvvv).
Curated by Georg Dietzler.
Raumklänge – visual notations – musik intermedial – No 1
Ahad`s Masters Garden | Musik für’s Deutsche Haus
Animationsfilm und live-elektronische Musik mit selbstgebauten Instrumenten
Zsolt Sörés I Budapest | HU
Christian Skjødt | Aaalborg | DK
J. Milo Taylor | London | UK
Andrea Pensado | Salem, MA | USA
Zeitsprünge: Alte Stummfilme hat Zsolt Sörés bisher als filmische Notenschrift für die Konzerte zu Ahad’s Masters Garden ausgewählt, diesmal gibt’s einen veränderten Ansatz mit einem neuen Computeranimationsfilm. Mal abstrakt, mal animierte Zeichnungen mit fliegenden Schallplatten, Wortfetzen sowie bewegten Werbegrafiken von Schellackplatten aus den 20/30ern »Musik für’s Deutsche Haus« aufgespürt im Archiv von a-musik, Köln. Mit Originaleinspielungen aus dieser Zeit, Deutsche Swing- , Jazz-, Tango- , Kirchenmusik und Chansons, kurz mit dabei: Marlene Dietrich. Das Filmkonzert, ein Hörspiel im Notentakt eines Films erzählt Zeit-/Geschichte/n mit selbstgebauten Instrumenten, Kurzwellenempfängern, Radiosignalen, Frequenzen, Klangverfremdungen.
with Sar Friedman (concept, voice, harmonies & arrangement)
Olivia Chaney, Harmonium, Voice, http://www.myspace.com/oliviachaney/music
Serafina Steer: Harp, Voice www.serafinasteer.com
Joe McKee: Guitar
Cecil Cuthbertson: Oboe
J Milo Taylor: baritone guitar, treatments, engineer, co-producer
Cover Still – Penny Vozniak
Artist Photograph – Bianca Markwell
Materials: Recorded Media (Stereo Audio)
My sense of disconnection from the people of Bad Ems as a consequence of language and the reverberant nature of the Kunstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral architecture. I was working in a disembodied and digital process, where, despite my actual presence in Bad Ems, much of my time was spent online and isolated from the real-world context around me. Although this time was highly productive I decided to counter such work with a piece intended to connect me more closely with the people and environment around me.
I had made the acquaintance of Rainer Hoffman, administrator of the Kunstlerhaus, a few days earlier, we had managed an interesting conversation, and I had noticed that he had difficulties with his hearing, and spends the day with hearing aids (specifics of this?). I myself was experiencing a restricted access to auditory world around me, due to the building’s sonic characteristics, and my own poor understanding of German. I had for a long time wanted to try a version of Alvin Lucier’s ‘I Am Sitting in a Room’ (1970) and so proposed a collaborative work to Rainer.
‘I am Sitting in a Room’ is one of Lucier’s most well known works, and he has always encouraged interpretations of the piece. It is a work based in a short piece of spoken text, originally spoken by Lucier himself. The complete text of this original version is presented below:
“I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of r-r-r-rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity nnnnnot so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to s-s-smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.”
This short piece of text explains the work quite succinctly, and the final work was originally presented as a forty minute recording. I asked Rainer to translate the text into German, and whether he would be prepared to have his voice recorded for the purposes of the piece. He was initially hesitant, selfconscious about the way he speaks German, saying that people often comment that he speaks his mother tongue in a strange way as a result of his hearing disability. When however I explained Lucier’s own problems with speech, and that his own experience would add to the work, he readily agreed. Rainer’s translation of Lucier is as follows:
“Ich sitze in einem Raum, der anders is als der Raum, in dem Sie sich gerade befinden. Ich nehme meine Sprechstimme auf und spiele sie ab, nehme sie auf und spiele sie ab, immer wieder – bis die Resonanzschwingungen des Raum sich selbst verstäken, so dass jede Ähnlichkeit mit dem Sprechen, auxer vielleicht mit dem Sprechrhythmus, ausgelöscht wird. Was Sie dann noch hören, sind die natürlichen Resonanzschwingungen des Raumes, gegliedert durch das Sprechen. Diese Handlung ist für mich weniger die Demonstration eines physikalischen Sachverhaltes, als vielmehr ein Weg, alle UnregelmäXigkeiten, die meine Sprache möglicherweise aufweist, zu glätten.”
The full iterative realisation of this work was carried out in the KHSB on the evening of 20th April 2008. The work is significantly different from Lucier’s, and the openness of his original intentions should be credited. My aims in attempting this work were met in the process of carrying out this work. I wanted a way to engage with the acoustic space of the KHSB, I needed some means of communication across a language barrier, I wanted to address my inability to speak or understand German and also to explore issues of authenticity with spoken German, interestingly fore grounded by Rainer’s inhibited access to the auditory. I would take this opportunity to thank Rainer for his participation in this work, and to hope that he enjoys listening to the transformation of his voice manifested by the acoustics of his daily place of work.