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.
A bricolage of shellac records found in Cologne in early 2012 forms the basis for a sonic ethnography of geographically bound historicised listening. There is an accompanying article published in Off-Topic #4 written in collaboration with George Brock-Nannestad and Dirk Specht. This work was undertaken during a research fellowship at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln. Many thanks to Anthony Moore, Cathy Lane and Martin Rumori for making this work possible.
1.) Karl Reich: Volkslieder. (Dreistimmung, harmonisch umsungen von Nachtigall-Edelkanarien der Zucht)
ELECTROLA E.G. 855 8-49269. Germany. 2.) Adalbert Lutter mit seinen Tanzorchester: Rhythmus der Freunde (There’s a New World).
Telefunken Bestell.Nr 6359 22016. Brown shellac. 1937. Germany. 3.) Die Goldene Sieben und ihr Orchester: Gefährliches Spiel (Tonfilm).
ELECTROLA E.G. 3923 ORA 1923 / ORA 1924. 1937. Germany. 4.) Grosses Tanzorchester: Für ein paar Stunden hast du mich glücklich gemacht.
TELEFUNKEN A 2190 21968. Germany. 5.) Zarah Leander & Werner Müller mit dem RIAS Tanzorchester, Berlin: Eine Frau in meinen Jahren.
POLYDOR. 48871 B. Germany. 6.) Harry Roy & his Orchestra: The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down.
ODEON. 0-31198b. 1937. England. 7.) Eugen Wolff v. Hotel Eden, Berlin: Es geht ein Singen.
ODEON. 0-31154b Be. 11654. 1937. Germany. 8.) Cyrus Bassiak (Serge Rezvani) et Jeanne Moreau: Le Tourbillon.
DISQUES PYRAL. 1962. France. 9.) Orchester Ludwig Ruth (Refrain gesang: Elena Lauri): Ach, Ich Hab Soviel Rhythmus.
ELECTROLA. E.G.3807. ORA 1596. 1937. Germany. 10.) De Groot und Edward O’Henry: Ave Maria.
ELECTROLA. E.G. 2012 30-3824. Germany. 11.) Jaqueline François mit Joe Boyer u.s. Orchestor: Mélancolie.
BRUNSWICK. 82451 A. 1956. France. 12.) Dizzy Gillespie & his Orchestra: Cubana Bop.
ELECTROLA. EG 7779 D7 VB 2934. Germany. 13.) Willy Breuser und die Kölsche Rabaue: Och wat wor dat fröher schön doch en Colonia.
KRISTALL. Bestell.Nr 9113 C 9718,1. Germany. 14.) Staats and Dom Chor (unter Lietung von Professor Hugo Rüdel): Licht von Herrn.
ELECTROLA. E.G. 223. 8-44750. Germany. 15.) Harry Roy & his Orchestra: I’m gonna kiss myself Goodbye.
ODEON. 0-31198a. 1937. England. 16.) Bassiak et Jeanne Moreau: Le Tourbillon.
Dialogue overdub. DISQUES PYRAL. France.
“What moves as a body, returns as a movement of thought.”
“A process set up anywhere, reverberates everywhere.”
“Concepts must be experienced. They are lived.” (Erin Manning and Brian Massumi)
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