The secret life of the inaudible | Christina Kubisch & Annea Lockwood


The secret life of the inaudible | Christina Kubisch & Annea Lockwood
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CD 1 – Annea Lockwood
WILD ENERGY | 2016 (with Bob Bielecki) — (29:49)
Sound engineering and mastering: Tom Hamilton, New York


CD 2 – Christina Kubisch
NINE MAGNETIC PLACES | 2017 — (13:26)
BELOW BEHIND ABOVE | 2017 — (22:32)
Sound engineering: Eckehard Güther
Mixed at Studio Hoppegarten
Mastering: Douglas Henderson



About our collaboration.


Annea and I first met in New York in 1975. I was writing an article about the experimental music scene in New York for an Italian magazine. We soon found out that we had a lot of common interests and ideas. In 1979 she came to Italy and together we performed her piece „World Rhythms“ at a festival in Como. I was deeply impressed by how Annea combined technical skills with intuitive performance.


Sound for her always has been more than just material to bring into a compositional form. It was more than raw material, it had a complex structure of its own and was transporting energy. Annea translated and communicated this energy to the listener and she does this with unusual intensity until today.


Over the years we followed each other’s works but unfortunately did not meet as often as we would have liked. During her stay in Berlin earlier this year we had another chance to discuss our works, materials, researches, concepts, doubts and future projects. The idea of a collaboration was a natural consequence of this exchange. We both investigate soundworlds which normally are not audible. Annea questions how the forces of nature influence us, I question how manmade electromagnetic fields have an impact on our lives. And we both love field recording, especially exploring underwater sounds with hydrophones.


We decided to exchange sound materials and left it open to the other what to choose and how to mix it into a new composition. The two new pieces which were created by this exchange are different but at the same time seem to belong together somehow. Annea sent me extracts from recordings of VLF chorus waves, solar oscillations, earthquakes, gas vents etc. while I transmitted to her a collection of recordings of electromagnetic waves which I had made audible and recorded with special custom designed induction headphones. Annea’s sound material was coming from sonic ultra and infra ranges and was speeded up or shifted down in order to become audible, my recordings are analog and were made directly on site in different cities. The sounds we use are all strange and powerful and they go together as if they were especially made for this collaboration. Until now what kind of influence the sources of these normally hidden waves have on us is not much explored. It is up to the listener to find out more about it.


Thanks to Gruenrekorder who supported our project from the beginning. — Christina Kubisch, November 2017



CD 1 – Annea Lockwood
WILD ENERGY | 2016 (with Bob Bielecki)



Wild Energy gives access to the inaudible, vibrations in the ultra sound and infra sound ranges emanating from sources which affect us fundamentally, but which are beyond our normal audio perception, many of which are creating our planet’s environment: the sun, the troposphere and ionosphere, the earth’s crust and core, the oxygen-generating trees – everything deeply integrated, forming an inaudible web in which we move, through which we live and on which we depend. It is our sense that through these sounds one can feel the energies generated, not as concepts but as energy-fields moving through one’s body. Here they have been shifted up (infrasound) or down (ultrasound) to bring them into the human audio range.


Wild Energy begins with solar oscillations (acoustical pressure waves) recorded by the SOHO spacecraft – 40 days of solar oscillations sped up 42,000 times, and ends with ultrasound recorded from the interior of a Scots pine tree.


Recordings made available to Annea Lockwood by scientists at the universities of Hawaii, Stanford, Iowa, Columbia (USA) and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research.


Sound sources:


The sun, acoustical pressure waves – recording courtesy of Alexander Kosovichev, Solar Oscillations Investigation team, Stanford University
Gas vents and tremors, Mt Kilauea – recordings courtesy of Milton Garces, the Infrasound Laboratory, University of Hawaii
VLF Chorus waves and Whistlers; Auroral Kilometric Radiation radio waves –recordings courtesy of Craig Kletzing, Radio and Plasma Wave Group, University of Iowa
Sei whale – recording courtesy of Arthur Newhall, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Earthquakes – recordings courtesy of the U.S.G.S; Ben Holtzman, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University and Jason Moran
Trees, cavitation events and ultrasound emissions – recordings courtesy of Melvin Tyree; Roman Zweifel , Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and Marcus Maeder, Zurich University of the Arts, Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology
Hydrothermal vents – recording courtesy of Timothy Crone, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
Bats: pipistrelle, California myotis, silver-haired bats,; big brown bat and Grote’s tiger moth recording courtesy of Aaron Corcoran, Wake Forest University


CD 1 – Annea Lockwood



Composing with combined sound files and sources, six from each of us, has been a unique experience for me, and a deep pleasure. I have long found Christina’s explorations of the electromagnetic fields within which we live now revelatory and essential – beautiful in their sonic detail and powerful in their effects on my body. And there is satisfying sense of complementarity here: Human-created sounds from Christina’s electromagnetic world, a world which she has been hugely instrumental in revealing to us, and non-human sounds and vibrations from the geophysical, atmospheric and mammalian spheres which are my sources.


Her sounds were a delight to work with, often with a clear pitch element and, while fluctuating in their details and flow, essentially stable. This contrasts well with the event-driven, more turbulent rhythms and noise content of my materials. It was fascinating to play with these differences and discover how easily our sounds blend as if drawn together magnetically into layered textures. I am most grateful to Christina for suggesting this collaboration.


Sound sources:


Annea Lockwood: Tremors and a bench collapse on Mt Kilauea, Hawaii, VLF whistlers, earthquakes in Sumatra and Honshu, Japan, ultrasonic sounds from a Scots pine tree, the Mid-Ocean Ridge Black Smoker hydrothermal vent, solar oscillations.


Christina Kubisch: electromagnetic waves recorded in a subway station, a server room, an underground tunnel, a power station, shopping centers and in the countryside during a thunderstorm after electricity had broken down.



CD 2 – Christina Kubisch



Nine magnetic places is a journey without knowing where to go, what to find, how long to stay or what will come next. It is a discovery of a hidden world, a dreamlike trip by which the traveller encounters unexpected juxtapositions and sequences of electromagnetic waves. The piece was inspired by the first book using the technique of automatic writing, „Les champs magnétiques“ by André Breton and Philippe Soupault, published in Paris (1920).


The electromagnetic recordings were made in or traveling to: Las Vegas, Gdansk, Ystad, Kosice, Montreal, Bordeaux, Manchester, Dortmund, San Francisco, Paris, Ekaterinburg, Lagos, Venice, Bratislava, Bangkok and other places.


CD 2 – Christina Kubisch



When I was about to finish this piece two powerful storms, called Xavier and Herwart, swept through northern Germany and Central Europe following each other within three weeks. The storms produced hurricane winds and left a path of destruction knocking down trees, power lines and buildings and caused widespread travel chaos.


I was working in my studio during both storms, looking at the shaking trees in front of my house while I was listening to sounds from vulcanos, solar oscillations, earthquakes and the intense vibrations of electromagnetic fields.


The experience of the two storms had a strong impact on my work. The piece became a kind of encounter of different energies and vibrations which meet in unforeseen ways.


Sound sources:


Annea Lockwood: Volcanic gas vents, VLF chorus waves and whistlers, earthquakes, solar oscillations and ultrasonic tree sounds.


Christina Kubisch: electromagnetic recordings from light systems, seismic research centers,transmitter systems and others. Hydrophone recordings from the river Rhein.





Copyright texts:
Christina Kubisch, Annea Lockwood


Copyright compositions:
Annea Lockwood BMI, Christina Kubisch GEMA


Ruth Anderson, Christina Kubisch, Peter Kutin, Fabrizio
Plessi, Dieter Scheyhing, Christopher Williams


UV photography:
Christina Kubisch, from the series „Traces“, 2011


Graphic design:


4 Tracks (74′20″)
Double CD (500 copies)


Soundscape Series by Gruenrekorder
Germany / 2018 / Gruen 180 / LC 09488 / GEMA / EAN: 4050486122327





Stuart Marshall | The Sound Projector
Dredging detail from inaudible depths are two veterans of the interior realms, Christina Kubisch and Annea Lockwood, who pair up for a double disc document of recordings taken from situations more commonly associated with other sensory experiences: earthquakes, solar flares, electromagnetic waves and other ‘geophysical atmospheric spheres’, as well as more conventional field recording sites like subway stations, thunderstorms. At any other time we’d have a melange of quotidian site recordings on our hands, but the pair’s technological adeptness takes the recording process all the way into ‘the interior of a Scots pine’. The logistical efforts gone to are clearly commensurate with the sounds sought after; EM wave recordings for instance are slowed or sped up for audibility (and headphones are advised), as well as treatments more arcane. Emphasising the ‘correspondence’ nature of the relationship, the discs, like the artists, are geographically separated in a gatefold sleeve, and tapes were exchanged by courier. Unsurprisingly, the final product is the counterpart’s considered reworking of the original recordings into organic collages of energised sound fields where the once-inaudible enters the human hearing range, while remaining veiled in identity: darkened wind tunnels, hissing tundra and many other (psycho-)geographical extremes are evoked in these mysterious and absorbing sound worlds.


Louise Gray | The Wire Magazine – Issue 412
While Christina Kubisch and Annea Lockwood have been significant points on each other’s radars since their first meeting in the mid-1970s, it’s only now, on this double CD release, that the two have collaborated. They do this via a sharing of sound files that effectively points towards a process of co-composition allowing each musician to enter and manipulate the other’s soundworlds. As the album title suggests, the pair were brought together by a shared interest in making audible sounds that are, by reason of their frequency and materiality, inaccessible to the unaided human ear. The results are exhilarating, both compositionally and in the breadth of new approaches to sound sourcing.


Each composer takes one CD apiece, each of them containing two works. Lockwood turns up the volume on the inaudible on Wild Energy, which she originally made with Bob Bielecki for a compositional installation in 2014 set in the grounds of the Caramoor Center in upstate New York. It begins with a low, sensual pulsing before travelling far into mysterious reaches. Using sounds that begin with sped-up solar oscillations and end with the ultrasonics emitted by a Scots pine tree, Lockwood telescopes the natural world into a vertiginous journey from the macro level of the cosmos to tectonic squeaks of the Earth’s crust to the micro level of a tree’s interior: we hear these sounds because she raises some frequencies, lowers others, all the while situating us – the listeners – in a holistic and integrated sounding universe. Streaming, Swirling, Converging, Lockwood’s second composition on Secret Life, employs similar translations of energetic data into the realm of the audible. This time, the human content is more explicit: Lockwood adds sounds from Kubisch – electromagnetic waves in a subway station, the countryside during a storm, a tunnel – and uses them in a way that asks us to think of the space that they operate in, the surfaces that they ricochet from, in a way that suggests that even by the act of playing the CD, we are extending this compositional volume.


Nine Magnetic Places and Below Behind Above, Kubisch’s two works on the second CD, are created from sound sources including electromagnetic waves, transmitter systems and seismic data, in addition to the geological and cosmological sounds donated from Lockwood. Overtly much more dynamic in their sound textures than Lockwood’s pair of works – these compositions are emmeshed in rumbles, crackles, tickings: Kubisch carefully organises the frequencies of these sounds to suggest not only sonic but spatial volume. The hearing presence of the listener completes these compositions – functioning, perhaps, like the object that the compositional radar detects.


Aurelio Cianciotta | Neural
Christina Kubisch and Annea Lockwood met each other in a different age. It was around 1975 and the New York experimental music scene wasn’t as internationally recognized, but both artists already had solid backgrounds. Christina Kubisch had attended the Milan Conservatory and was developing some fundamental multimedia research with the Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi. Annea Lockwood was a teacher at the Hunter College in Manhattan and was already working with field recordings, focusing especially on the environment, often in partnership with different choreographers, sound poets and visual artists. Their first partnership dated to 1979, a festival in Como, Italy. Together they performed “World Rhythms”, a piece by Annea Lockwood. Since that time, the two artists have not many opportunities to meet again, so when this happened at the beginning of 2017 in Berlin, the idea to work together again was a natural consequence; the result of a mutual respect and understanding. The core point was attention to the inaudible, a powerful fascination for both the experimenters, the key that influences our lives and our perception of the world. Kubisch and Lockwood took a determined and unusual decision: they exchanged their own audio files and let each other mutually choose and mix the audio sources individually developed into a new composition. The two suites originating from this exchange definitely seem different, but at the same time also similar. Lockwood sent her colleague some recordings including VLF chorus waves, solar oscillations, gas vents and earthquakes. Kubisch had to modulate these ultrasonic and infrasonic events to make them audible. The other sources followed a different direction, because they were analog: audio captures taken live and from different cities, following a scheme that may seem more traditional, but at the same time also effective enough and respectful of the qualities of the weaves. However, apparently nothing can be taken for granted. The two composers always keep the listener’s attention high, but at the same time set the imagination free. The psychoacoustics they play are slightly doctrinaire, however they are conceptual and heart breaking.


Łukasz Komła |
Dwie wielkie artystki dźwiękowe, przekazały sobie odmienny materiał źródłowy, który połączyły na jednym wydawnictwie.


„The secret life of the inaudible” to wspólny album dwóch niezwykłych artystek. Na początku chciałbym przybliżyć w paru zdaniach bogate życiorysy obu pań.


Annea Lockwood urodziła się w Nowej Zelandii w 1939 roku. W 1961 roku przeniosła się do Anglii, gdzie studiowała kompozycję w londyńskim Royal College of Music, uczęszczała na letnie kursy w Darmstadt i ukończyła studia w Kolonii i Holandii, biorąc udział w kursach muzyki elektronicznej u Gottfrieda Michaela Koeniga. W latach siedemdziesiątych zdecydowała się zamieszkać w Stanach Zjednoczonych podejmując pracę w Hunter College w Nowym Jorku.


W latach sześćdziesiątych współpracowała z poetami dźwiękowymi, choreografami i artystami wizualnymi, a także stworzyła szereg dzieł, takich jak Glass Concerts, które zainicjowały jej trwającą całe życie fascynację barwą i nowymi źródłami dźwięku. Bardzo ciekawy jest cykl Lockwood powstały jako hołd dla pionierskich przeszczepów serca Christiana Barnarda (południowoafrykański kardiochirurg, kierownik ośrodka badań i chirurgii serca na uniwersytecie w Kapsztadzie. Jako pierwszy na świecie przeprowadził transplantację ludzkiego serca), pod nazwą Piano Transplants (1969-82), polegający na tym, że niesprawne pianina zostały spalone, utopione, wyrzucone na brzeg i następnie umieszczone (posadzone) w angielskim ogrodzie.


W latach siedemdziesiątych i osiemdziesiątych Lockwood skupiła się na pracach performatywnych poświęconych dźwiękom wyjętym z różnych środowisk ludzkiego życia, często używając do tego urządzeń low-tech, takich jak Sound Ball, zawierających sześć małych głośników i odbiornik, zaprojektowanych przez Roberta Bieleckiego dla Three Short Stories. W latach dziewięćdziesiątych i później stworzyła mnóstwo fascynujących projektów. Polecam dokładnie prześledzić jej dokonania.


Christina Kubisch to trochę młodsza artysta dźwiękowa, urodziła się w 1948 roku w Bremie. I już zdarzało mi się wcześniej pisać o jej pracach. W 2013 roku opisałem album „Mosaïque Mosaic”, przygotowany przez Kubisch i Eckeharda Güthera, będący zbiorem nagrań terenowych z Kamerunu. Trzy lata później ukazał się ich kolejny materiał, tym razem pt. „Unter Grund”, na którym zmierzyli się z problem wód gruntowych i układem podziemnych rurociągów.


Wracając do biografii Kubisch to wspomnę, że studiowała malarstwo, muzykę (flet i kompozycję) oraz elektronikę w Hamburgu, Grazu, Zurychu i Mediolanie, gdzie ukończyła studia. Od końca lat siedemdziesiątych artystka koncentruje się na instalacjach i rzeźbach dźwiękowych oraz pracy ze światłem. Kubisch ma na swoim koncie ogromną liczbę wyróżnień oraz nagród (np. Nagroda Niemieckiego Stowarzyszenia Przemysłowego – BDI). Stypendystka wielu prestiżowych instytucji i uczelni. Jej wystawy indywidualne pojawiały się w całej Europie, USA, Australii, Japonii czy Ameryce Południowej. Kubisch jest także profesorem wizytującym w Maastricht, Paryżu, Oksfordzie i Berlinie.


Należy pamiętać też o tym, że Christina opracowała taką technikę, jak indukcja magnetyczna, która znalazła zastosowanie w jej licznych instalacjach. Twórczość Kubisch często określa się mianem synthesis of arts – z jednej strony odkrywanie przestrzeni akustycznej i wymiaru czasu w sztukach wizualnych, a z drugiej – redefiniowanie związków między materiałem a formą w muzyce.


Lockwood i Kubisch pierwszy raz spotkały się w Nowym Jorku w 1975 roku. – Pisałam wtedy artykuł o eksperymentalnej scenie Nowego Jorku dla włoskiego magazynu. Wkrótce dowiedziałyśmy się, że mamy wiele wspólnych zainteresowań i pomysłów. W 1979 roku Annea przyjechała do Włoch, gdzie razem zagrałyśmy jej utwór „World Rhythms” na festiwalu w Como. Byłam pod ogromnym wrażeniem tego, jak Annea łączyła umiejętności techniczne z intuicyjną obsługą – wspomina Kubisch.


– Przez lata śledziłyśmy nawzajem swoje prace, ale niestety nie spotykałyśmy się tak często, jak byśmy chciały. Podczas pobytu w Berlinie na początku tego roku miałyśmy kolejną okazję do omówienia naszych prac, materiałów, badań, koncepcji, wątpliwości i przyszłych projektów. Idea współpracy była naturalną konsekwencją tej wymiany. Dźwięk dla niej zawsze był czymś więcej niż tylko materiałem do wprowadzenia w formę kompozycyjną. Był czymś więcej niż surowcem, miał swoją złożoną strukturę i transportował energię. Annea przetłumaczyła oraz przekazała tę energię słuchaczowi i robi to z niezwykłą intensywnością aż do dzisiaj – dodaje Kubisch.


Nie ulega wątpliwości, iż obie artystki od wielu lat badają dźwiękowe światy, które zwykle nie są słyszalne. W kontekście „The secret life of the inaudible” Lockwood zastanawia się, w jaki sposób siły natury wpływają na nas, a także w jaki sposób pola elektromagnetyczne wytwarzane przez człowieka oddziaływają na nasze życie. Obie też bardzo lubią rejestrować nagrania terenowe, a szczególnie odkrywać podwodne dźwięki za pomocą hydrofonów. Kubisch odnośnie „The secret life of the inaudible” przekazała Lockwood swoją kolekcję nagrań fal elektromagnetycznych, które zarejestrowała za pomocą specjalnie zaprojektowanych słuchawek indukcyjnych. Z kolei Lockwood obdarowała Kubisch zbiorem nagrań fal VLF, oscylacji słonecznych, trzęsień ziemi, otworów wentylacyjnych etc., pochodzących z ultradźwięków i podczerwieni, a te zostały niekiedy przyspieszone lub obniżone tak, aby stały się słyszalne.


„The secret life of the inaudible” to dwupłytowe wydawnictwo, gdzie pierwszy krążę wypełniły dwa fragmenty należące do Lockwood. Prawie półgodzinne „Wild Energy (with Bob Bielecki)” daje możliwość obcowania z niesłyszalnymi wibracjami w zakresie ultradźwięków i promieni podczerwonych pochodzących z różnych źródeł (słońce, troposfera, jonosfera, skorupa ziemska, jądro, drzewa wytwarzające tlen). W pierwszych minutach słyszymy oscylacje słoneczne (akustyczne ciśnienie fal) uchwycone przez statek kosmiczny SOHO, a na koniec ultradźwięki zarejestrowane we wnętrzu sosnowego drzewa. Czy poczuliście pola energii poruszające się po swoich ciałach? Zabiegi akustyczne zastosowane w „Wild Energy”, czyli infradźwięki i ultradźwięki, dzięki którym ludzki słuchasz jest wstanie to wyłapać, ponoć mają umożliwić takowe odczuwanie pól energii. Dodam, że Anne Lockwood udostępnili nagrania naukowcy z uniwersytetów na Hawajach, Stanford, Iowa, Columbia i Szwajcarskiego Federalnego Instytutu Badań Lasów, Śniegu i Krajobrazu.


Zdecydowanie krótszy „Streaming, Swirling, Converging” jest mieszaniem jeszcze innych źródeł, w tym przypadku pól magnetycznych i odgłosów otoczenia. Lockwood przetworzyła to, co dostała od Kubisch, czyli fale elektromagnetyczne zarejestrowane w stacji metra, serwerowni, podziemnym tunelu, elektrowni, centrach handlowych i na wsi podczas burzy po zerwaniu linii wysokiego napięcia. Lockwood zaś od siebie dodała np. drżenie ławki, odgłosy trzęsienia ziemi na Sumatrze i Honsiu w Japonii czy oscylacje słoneczne. Brzmi to jak zakodowany strumień wszechświata, choć z udziałem materii czysto ziemskiej.


Na drugim albumie mamy dwie propozycje Kubisch. Fascynująco brzmi nagranie „Nine Magnetic Places” będące odkrywaniem ukrytego świata, a nawet podróżą, w trakcie której słuchacz obcuje z nieoczekiwanymi zestawieniami i sekwencjami fal elektromagnetycznych. Inspiracją do powstania „Nine Magnetic Places” była pierwsza książka wykorzystująca technikę automatycznego pisania „Les champs magnétiques” André Bretona i Philippe’a Soupaulta, wydana w Paryżu w 1920 roku. Co ciekawe, nagrania elektromagnetyczne, jakie pojawiły się w „Nine Magnetic Places”, zostały między innymi zarejestrowane w Gdańsku.


„Below Behind Above” to już dłuższa praca Kubisch, która powstała w 2017 roku. Kiedy kończyła ją, przeszły w ciągu trzech tygodni przez północne Niemcy i Europę Środkową dwie potężne burze, nazywane Xavier i Herwart. Burze wywołały huraganowe wiatry i spowodowały spustoszenie, niszcząc drzewa, linie energetyczne i budynki. – Pracowałam w moim studio podczas obu burz, patrząc na drżące drzewa przed moim domem, podczas gdy słuchałam dźwięków z wulkanów, oscylacji słonecznych, trzęsień ziemi i intensywnych wibracji pól elektromagnetycznych – wspomina Kubisch. W „Below Behind Above” Lockwood dostarczyła Kubisch odgłosów gazu wulkanicznego, fal VLF, trzęsienia ziemi, oscylacji słonecznych i ultradźwięków z drzew. Z kolei Kubisch dorzuciła od siebie nagrania elektromagnetyczne z systemów oświetleniowych, sejsmicznych ośrodków badawczych, systemów nadajników i hydrofonów z rzeki Ren.


Wiem, że „The secret life of the inaudible” jest pozycją dla wąskiej grupy odbiorców, ale jakże interesującą i wciągającą. Frapujący tytuł tego wydawnictwa, w wolnym tłumaczeniu „Sekretne życie niesłyszących”, skojarzył mi się z niektórymi tytułami filmów dokumentalnych Wernera Herzoga, które doskonale opisują nastrój panujący u Anne’y Lockwood i Christiny Kubisch, czyli „Kraina ciszy i ciemności”, „Fata Morgana”, „Lekcje ciemności” czy „Jaskinia zapomnianych snów”. Poczujcie te fale!


TJ Norris | Toneshift
Recorded between 2016-17 here we find two longtime experimental composers at work, and both women have pioneered new sonics at every turn over five decades. Released via the Soundscape Series (Gruenrekorder; 2xCD) New Zealander Annea Lockwood and German Christina Kubisch deliver The Secret Life Of The Inaudible. The record consists of four tracks, two from each artist, separated on the two included disks. Starting off with Wild Energy (with Bob Bielecki) Lockwood darkens the room with a earthly rumbling, maybe she’s a storm-chaser? The atmosphere is cavernous with sudden broad bass. As she conducts this muffled noise symphony tiny starry electronic blips emerge and disappear quickly. At 70-something she is still sculpting soundscapes with intuition and a greater understanding of minimalism. As the storm moves out a tiny watery ‘thwack’ grows into what sounds like distortions derived by nature. A rustling whistle plays audibly on the low range, just as promised in the title, with the occasional ripple runs through the mix. Towards the end of this half hour piece electronic chirps are met with a slight space drone and great pause.


Up next is Lockwood’s Streaming, Swirling, Converging. The setting is a tiny campfire with spiraling synths crossing the threshold into aural cinema. It’s perfectly peculiar and low range. The signals are open and buzz like diminutive electrical appliances. The subdued actions are part science, part space exploration. But it’s the indistinguishable quality between what might be field recordings and what might be pure static that finds its way through the basic fabric here. One thing is clear, there’s a wild scientist at the helm and she’s wielding energy in exploratory ways.


On disc two Kubisch enters with Nine Magnetic Places and right from the outset you can see why these two decided to put out a comprehensive, complementary recording together. The sound is soaked in low frequencies and despondent drone that ticks and flares in reverb. Tape spindles gyrate and an open sound source offers a multi-channeled spontaneity that persists through the adapting drone. A percussive patter enters and grows slowly, building on a fluctuating sound pulsation, throbbing and dissipating. Perhaps what we are witnessing is actual magnetization, amplified and divided into portions. Whatever it may be it hits you in the center of your chest as you listen.


On the final piece, Below Behind Above, a near sinewave is delivered with a pitch just within the decibels of human understanding. As other microsounds crunch and are sorted, a lower tonal structure is layered with what could be a passing plane or wind at great heights. The laminous ambiguity is what makes this so intriguing. The work appears to breathe in discordant grace, laid back at times, and awoken by sporadic small waves of hiss. At midpoint the atmosphere changes, new actions are delivered that agitate the seemingly living drone. These complex percussive elements are raspy, like corroded tin, an underwater propeller, and mysterious flying objects. In the final act wriggling electronics and clunky clicks make for a diluted, drunken conversation. It’s a jungle out there, and in here we are courted by Kubisch’s unexpected sonic sources.


Duncan Simpson | Musique Machine
Something of an event release this for Gruenrekorder; The Secret Life of the Inaudible is a double CD collaboration between the New Zealand born American composer Annea Lockwood (She of A Sound Map of the Hudson River and numerous brutalised pianos in the 1970s) and Christina Kubisch who’s most recent release on Gruenrekorder was Unter Grund a record which made use of material collected appropriately enough beneath the earth’s surface at various locations in the area of the Ruhr in Germany.


For this joint endeavour the artists exchanged a wealth of material derived from the inaudible sounds that are usually out of the frequency range for humans. Kubisch contributes electromagnetic recordings made while travelling through cities such as Montreal, Paris, Dortmund and Bangkok. Lockwood contributes a range of sources for her recordings which go from the earthly ultrasound of a Scots pine to massively sped up solar oscillations recorded from space! Just the list of sound sources puts this release into something of a class of its own. Each of the women have produced a piece based on their own material and then a second which is a mix of theirs and their collaborators sound sources.


The record’s raison d’être, of capturing the life of the inaudible is an immediately fascinating and paradoxical proposition. If the sounds are outside of the frequency range for human beings how can they be used as the basis for a record? Conversely, if through scientific and studio techniques the inaudible is rendered audible, have they not obliterated the thing which they claim to be revealing? Certainly the unworldly and thoroughly unfamiliar sounds we hear on this record testify to their origin beyond the mundane. For every squeak, whoosh or throb on Lockwood’s 30 minutes Wild Energy one wonders what the source was. A sudden rush of pure bass is overtaken by bubbling metallic sounds as if an alien species were trying to communicate though the speakers. What could the ultrasound of a Scots pine tree tell about the worlds that lie beneath the bark? Sometimes the sound seems to drop out entirely only to re-emerge from either the upper or lower range. There is a feeling of movement in the composition as if Lockwood was attempting to imbue something of the distance travelled, size or extent of time associated with some of her sources.


Lockwood’s piece utilising Christina Kubisch’s material Streaming, Swirling, Converging is a shorter affair but rich in texture and tonal counterpoint. To her own pan-global material she includes her collaborators fascinating electromagnetic recordings which bear some resemblance to modulated feedback. Both artists include some hydrophone derived material in the mix, which throws up the occasional gurgle or splash, enough to keep our feet on earth for the time being. The choice of material and sources is clearly important for Lockwood, ranging from the vast reaches of space to the inner life of a tree. The sounds here function like hieroglyphs pointing the way perhaps to some ineffable connectedness of all things. Ineffable, in agreement with the original inaudibility of her sounds.


Christina Kubisch’s disk begins with Nine Magnetic Places a wonderfully layered piece deploying a range of recordings of electromagnetic waves composed – so the notes say – according the methodology of automatic writing. Collected on her travels across the world the materials for this piece testify to the traditional relationship between metropolitanism and the avant-garde of the early 20th century. It’s a piece full of the buzzing (sometimes quite literally) of life, transit and intrigue, as throbbing bass drones open onto almost analogue synth-like tones and gradually modulating harmonics. Around the nine minute mark the fluctuating tones snarl up into a gravelly pulsating rhythm behind which another set of gloaming tones pulse in step. Fans of Nurse With Wound’s Soliloquy for Lilith (which is also based on electromagnetic waves) or Pierre Henry’s feedback derived work from the early 60s will lap this up.


The second longer piece titled Below Behind Above is the collaboration with Lockwood’s sounds. The notes speak of how Kubisch was auditioning these sounds during two storms that tore through central Europe. The combination of the violent weather and Lockwood’s interstellar material inspired a composition staging an encounter between different energies. In effect what we hear is a kind of hybrid between the two composer’s use of these ultra and infra-sound materials. There’s some nice use of effects that transform tonal vibrations into almost bird-like chirps. Indeed on this piece we hear the briefest hints of the phenomenal realm in sudden wood clunks, distant animals (heard as if from underwater) or the movement of water. Overall though this piece, like the others, still aims resolutely at the noumenal .


A fascinating collection of works of undoubted originality and quality, the question remains as to whether the „secret life of the inaudible“ is really what they’ve managed to capture rather than a document testifying to the advances in audio recording and processing technology. Perhaps the key lies in the notion of a „secret life..“ which implies the role of the composer as a kind of mystic initiated into an esoteric knowledge. Technology may obscure the object in itself, but to use a well known dictum from the history of mysticism that I hope the artists would not disapprove of; their subject matter is revealed in and through that concealment. The Secret Life of the Inaudible is a project at the cutting edge of sound art that poses questions as well as producing tremendous results.


Peter van Cooten |
Gruenrekorder is a German label “promoting soundworks and phonography. Phonography considers nature/the environment as an acoustic experience, loaden with musical sounds”.
I don’t think a more fitting label could be found for the release of The Secret Life Of The Inaudible, the double CD set by Annea Lockwood and Christina Kubisch. The recordings can be categorized as ‘field recordings’ but it’s not as easy as going ‘into the field’ and ‘press record’ (most good field recordings aren’t, by the way). And both these artists have been around since the beginning of these kind of sonic explorations (Annea Lockwood was born in 1939, Christina Kubisch in 1948). Both are legends in their own fields, the true first generation of sound artists.


The pieces on this album are soundscapes created using these recordings of the (usually) inaudible. Lockwood and Kubisch “decided to exchange sound materials and left it open to the other what to choose and how to mix it into a new composition”.


“Annea’s sound material was coming from sonic ultra and infra ranges and was speeded up or shifted down in order to become audible, my [Christina’s] recordings are analog and were made directly on site in different cities. The sounds we use are all strange and powerful and they go together as if they were especially made for this collaboration.”


For the listener, the soundscapes open up a completely new world. A world you didn’t know you were part of, and sounds that you normally would never be able to hear. As an example, Wild Energy begins with a recording made by the SOHO spacecraft: 40 days of solar oscillations (acoustical pressure waves) sped up 42.000 times, and ends with ultrasound recorded from the interior of a Scots pine tree.
Other sound sources include volcano tremors and gas vents, earthquakes, VLF chorus waves and whistlers, bat sounds, etc (Annea Lockwood‘s input) kinds of electromagnetic waves (subway station, server room, power station, shopping centers in various cities, seismic research centers, the countryside during a thunderstorm after electricity had broken down, etc (Christina Kubisch‘s specialism).


The result is a fantastic journey into uncharted aural territories. Hearing the sound of all these frequencies also raises the question what effects they might cause on the environment, and on ourselves:
“Until now what kind of influence the sources of these normally hidden waves have on us is not much explored. It is up to the listener to find out more about it.”


a-Musik | News: April 2018
Der Titel der neuen Veröffentlichung auf Gruenrekorder, dem auf Fieldrecordings spezialisierten Label aus Frankfurt am Main, ist Programm: „The secret life of the inaudible“. Mit dem, was uns zwar soundtechnisch ständig umgibt aber gleichzeitig in der Regel ungehört bleibt, beschäftigen sich auf dieser großartigen 2CD zwei legendäre Klangkünstlerinnen. Christina Kubisch und Annea Lockwood, die längst nicht mehr aus der Geschichte der Soundart wegzudenken sind, sind nicht nur seit den 1970er Jahren aktiv, sondern kennen und – wie aus den ausführlichen Begleittexten erkenntlich wird – schätzen sich bereits ebenso lange. Umso erstaunlicher, dass es sich bei „The secret life of the inaudible“ um ihre erste gemeinsame Veröffentlichung handelt.


Genauer gesagt beinhaltet die erste CD mit „Wild Energy“ ein Stück von Lockwood, das aus bearbeiteten Ultraschall- und Infraschallsounds, die unter anderem von der Erde oder der Sonne „produziert“ werden, besteht, während sich auf der zweiten CD mit „Nine Magnetic Places“ eine Soundarbeit von Kubisch befindet, mit hörbar gemachten Aufnahmen von elektromagnetischen Wellen, wie sie in U-Bahnstationen, an Geldautomaten oder Elektrizitätswerken existieren. Zudem ist auf beiden CDs jeweils ein kollaboratives Stück zu hören, in dem diese natürlich bzw. technisch erzeugten Geräuschen verarbeitet und kombiniert werden, und vor allem mit „Below Behind Above“ in einer regelrecht betörenden Symbiose münden. Das Ganze kommt im Klappcover samt 16seitigem Booklet, das, wie gesagt, Anmerkungen der beiden sowie einige Fotografien beinhaltet, daher – und darf jetzt schon als eine der herausragenden Klangkunstreleases in diesem Jahr gelten.


Though this double-CD collaboration between sound artists Christina Kubisch and Annea Lockwood comes with the kind of pulpy title one might expect from a ‘60s TV sci-fi episode, it actually represents the project content in literal terms. One of the more fascinating things about the recording (and something of which I constantly remind myself as I attend to its seventy-four minutes) is that the sounds presented didn’t originate as audible material but rather as non-audible phenomena and energy fields the artists translated into audible form. Even to characterize the originating materials as being below the threshold of human audibility is a misrepresentation when Kubisch and Lockwood, despite using different techniques, function as sound mediums, channels through which sonic waves sourced from natural and cosmic sources turn into listenable material. Issued in a 500-copy edition as part of Gruenrekorder’s Soundscape Series, the release presents four pieces, two of them credited to Kubisch and Lockwood individually and the other two collaborations.


Born in New Zealand and Bremen respectively, Lockwood (1939- ) and Kubisch (1948- ) are long-established and much-admired figures in the sound art field who first met in New York in 1975 when Kubisch was writing an article about the city’s experimental music scene for an Italian magazine; four years later, they recovened in Italy where they performed a Lockwood piece at a festival in Como. The two share common ground, yet explore it from different angles: in Kubisch’s words, though “both investigate soundworlds which normally are not audible … Annea questions how the forces of nature influence us, I question how man-made electromagnetic fields have an impact on our lives.” To create The Secret Life of the Inaudible, the two exchanged sound materials and allowed each to select what she would for the production of a new composition. From Lockwood, Kubisch received recordings of solar oscillations, earthquakes, gas vents, and the like; Lockwood, on the other hand, worked with recordings of electromagnetic waves supplied by Kubisch.


Representative of the release is Lockwood’s opening “Wild Energy,” which draws upon recordings of the sun, gas and hydrothermal vents, tremors, radio waves, earthquakes, bats, trees, and even a Sei whale for its half-hour presentation. In general, the source elements lose their identifiability after being manipulated by Lockwood, though connections to the source materials might be made for those intent on doing so. Punctuating the subdued dronescape are synth-like flares and bright glissandi that intermittently swoop and whistle across surfaces that by turn burble, percolate, and convulse. Rumbles, rattles, rustlings, and gaseous emissions surface in a presentation that undergoes constant mutation. To give some idea of the scope of the materials with which she worked in creating the piece, consider that it begins with solar oscillations recorded by the SOHO spacecraft and ends with material sourced from the interior of a Scots pine tree. The Lockwood half concludes with “Streaming, Swirling, Converging,” which she created using six sound files from each collaborator. The range of sounds is again noteworthy, with Lockwood sourcing everything from solar oscillations to a bench collapse, and Kubisch providing her with electromagnetic waves taken from a subway station, shopping center, and power station, among other things, to work with on this comparatively more industrial-tinged soundscape. Again a pronounced synthesizer-like sound design imbues the result with a spacey electronic aura.


Taking its cue from the first book to deploy the technique of automatic writing (1920’s Les champs magnétiques by André Breton and Philippe Soupault), Kubisch’s “Nine Magnetic Places” unfolds mercurially, its creator intent on letting electromagnetic sounds advance in a dreamlike flow. Assembled using recordings compiled from Las Vegas, Montreal, Bordeaux, Manchester, Paris, Venice, Bangkok, and elsewhere, the setting swirls, grinds, buzzes, sputters, and whirrs like factory machinery and broken-down radio transmissions for thirteen engrossing minutes. “Below Behind Above,” her collaboration piece, grew out of an experience Kubisch had witnessing the wrath of two, chaos-inducing storms that wreaked havoc upon northern Germany and Central Europe during a three-week period. Given her sensitivity to electromagnetic vibrations and energy fields, it’s natural that Kubisch would be powerfully affected by the experience and eager to translate it into sound form. Working with sounds supplied by Lockwood taken from volcanic gas vents, VLF chorus waves and whistlers, earthquakes, solar oscillations, and ultrasonic tree sounds and her own recordings from light systems, transmitter systems, and the river Rhein, Kubisch concocted a woozy, twenty-two-minute soundscape that plays like something beamed down to us from a distant galaxy.


It’s fascinating stuff, not only in terms of the production processes involved but in purely audio terms. How wonderful it is that artists of Kubisch’s and Lockwood’s explorative character are operating today with as much conviction as they did decades ago, and how fortunate we are that an imprint such as Gruenrekorder exists to provide a forum for their creative work.


Lutz Vössing | skug – MUSIKKULTUR
Musik hat unter anderem die Fähigkeit, zu unterhalten, zu beruhigen, zum Kauf von Dingen anzuregen, zu foltern, zu empowern. In dem vorliegenden Werk der beiden Klangkünstlerinnen geht es um ihre Fähigkeit, vorher Unsichtbares sichtbar zu machen. Um die Vertonung von Unhörbarem. Töne, die für das menschliche Ohr nicht wahrnehmbar sind, werden von den beiden so manipuliert, dass am Ende etwas herauskommt, das gehört werden kann, vielleicht wie Musik. In der Ästhetik-Theorie gibt es die Vorstellung von Kunst als »das Sich-ins-Werk-Setzen der Wahrheit des Seienden«. Das, was die beiden Musikerinnen zu einem Kunstwerk machen, ist schon immer da gewesen, und doch wurde es erst jetzt durch ihr Zutun wahrnehmbar gemacht und kann aus sich strahlen. Wenn Christina Kubisch im Booklet von »The Secret Life of the Inaudible« über die Arbeit Lockwoods spricht, sieht man diese Vorstellung mitunter bestätigt:


»Sound for her always has been more than just material to bring into a compositional form. It was more than raw material, it had a complex structure of its own and was transporting energy. Annea translated and communicated this energy to the listener and she does this with unusual intensity until today.«


In diesem Fall ist die Kunst der Musik Vermittlung oder Kommunikation von Energie, die Künstlerin mehr oder weniger Medium, Übermittlerin, die sich bloß kleine Veränderungen am Material, »Kunstgriffe«, erlaubt. Nachdem Lockwood und Kubisch sich 1979 zum ersten Mal trafen und gemeinsam Lockwoods Stück »World Rhythms« performten, trafen sich die beiden anerkannten und mit Preisen verzierten Künstlerinnen erst 2017 in Berlin wieder und es entstand die Idee für eine neue Kollaboration. Denn, so Kubisch weiter im Booklet:


»We both investigate soundworlds which normally are not audible. Annea questions how the forces of nature influence us, I question how manmade electromagnetic fields have an impact on our lives. And we both love field recording, especially exploring underwater sounds with hydrophones.«


Für dieses Projekt tauschten sie Material aus und ließen offen, was die andere Person damit anstellen würde. Annea sandte ihr Extrakte von Tonaufnahmen geophysikalischer »atmospheric spheres«, das sind u. a. Ultraschallwellen, die in ihrem natürlichen Vorkommen unhörbar sind. Auslöser sind u. a. eine schottische Pinie (!), die Sonnenschwingung oder »einfach« die unterirdisch sich auswirkenden Klänge von Erdrutschen. Von Kubischs Seite kam eine Sammlung von Aufnahmen elektromagnetischer Wellen, die mit eigens angefertigten Induktionskopfhörern erzaubert wurden. Zudem nimmt sie Bezug auf den Rhein, ein bekannter Vertreter im Bereich der musikalischen Inspirationen (siehe Wagner, Richard). In diesen hielt sie ein Hydrophon; zu hören sind also Unterwasseraufnahmen. Alles äußerst kompliziert und doch so spannend, denn diese Strahlungen, Wellen, das Zittern des Bodens, die uns umgeben, haben einen ungemeinen Einfluss auf unser Leben.


In den vier Stücken werden seltsame, außerweltliche Szenen heraufbeschwört, die doch nur von dieser Welt herstammen. Es ist Science-Fiction ohne Weltraum. Die verschiedenen Aufnahmen sind freilich nicht bloß unverarbeitet wiedergegeben, sondern so arrangiert, dass sich aus Sound-Oberflächen Landschaften ergeben, die man bereisen darf – mal über, mal unter Wasser, mal irgendwo zwischen. Das Rauschen und Dröhnen ist kaum zu erkennen, doch nie ist es so weit entfernt, dass man meint, die Erde zu verlassen. Die Informationen, die uns die Künstlerinnen vorher gaben, spielen da natürlich mit rein. Jedoch lassen vor allem die Klänge, welche mit dem Hydrophon aufgenommen wurden, die Tiefen der kaum erforschten Meere erahnen. Da vermeint man, ein Vöglein zwitschern zu hören, das vielleicht bloß eine bearbeitete Welle der Sonnenstrahlen ist, die sich durch die Arbeit der Künstlerin im Rhein bricht. Alles möglich. Und wer weiß schon, ob nicht der eine oder andere Vogel tatsächlich seine Melodie zu den stetigen Akkorden der Sonnenstrahlen singt.


Beach Sloth
Aptly named, Christina Kubisch & Annea Lockwood discover the unlovable tiny textures and tones that surround us with the beautiful symphonies of “The Secret Life of the Inaudible”. Over the course of these extended pieces the two delve deep into the innermost workings of these miniature aural universes. Rhythms appear throughout but they are merely coincidence. By far the true draw comes from the way the textures shift and evolve. Despite their small stature, the pieces can grow to become quite loud, almost noisy at times. Difficult to fully imagine their miniature status, by allowing the intense amplification the sounds become transmissions from an otherworldly source, one that continues whether or not we notice it.


“Wild Energy (with Bob Bielecki)” sets the tone for what follows. Random bursts of noise, odd intervals of periodic drone, all of these come together in a way that lends it a sense of true mystery. Easily the highlight, it serves as a Rosetta stone for what follows. Industrial hums grace the weirdness of “Streaming, Swirling, Converging” where it at times feels akin to hearing office equipment put on full blast. With these first two piece, Annea Lockwood proves to be the kinder of the two. Tension reigns supreme on Christina Kubisch’s side, where sounds collide, bounce off each other, and at times nearly explode. Far more anxious, “Nine Magentic Places” goes for an odd rhythm, one that highlights the intensity of its surroundings. A little kinder “Below Behind Above” brings the entire album to a close with a sense of almost yearning.


“The Secret Life of the Inaudible” lends the even tiniest of sounds a voice to be heard, proving Christina Kubisch & Annea Lockwood to be true masters of their craft.


‚The secret life of the inaudible’ is the first collaborative work of two of the 20th century’s most revered and important female sound artist/electro-acoustic composers Christina Kubisch and Annea Lockwood. Using purely natural sounds, such as Volcanic gas vents, earthquakes, solar oscillations and ultrasonic tree sounds – as well as electromagnetic recordings from light systems and seismic research centers,transmitter systems and others, they build an ultra-vivid, immersive psychoacoustic mass of rare beauty.


A cause of extreme disgruntlement for this writer is the passive awareness that the bulk of a lifetime was splurged on issues and people not belonging to a sphere of intuitions and considerations even marginally correlatable with his own. If one inaugurates the process of growth by being predominantly attracted by non-vocal emissions, it is foreseeable that – quite soon – attention will not be given anymore to individuals imparting sagacity via mere words, typically instilling some kind of dismay in the potential victim. In that sense, imagine the (adult) quotidian disheartenment for not having a chance to remain within essential acoustic domains when the calls comes; silence is mandatory to do that, and silence is by now a rare commodity. Finally, try to explain all of the above to someone blathering non-stop because convinced – possibly via previous trauma – or out-and-out pretending of living outside his/her body, then get back to me for a good laugh together.


But we do get privileged whenever communicating – remotely but, by the grace of heavens, through sounds – with truly developed beings such as Christina Kubisch and Annea Lockwood, themselves linked by a long-time friendship and artistic consanguinity that never had resulted in a tangible collaboration. Until today.


Narrating yet again what these women have been doing throughout their histories of sonic researchers would be pathetic (but if you still think there is a need to, a peep to the presentation notes of this release will help explicating the kernel of the matter). This double CD encloses four handsome compositions derived from the manipulation of swapped materials; the common denominator is the attempt of turning invisible energies and inaudible frequencies into physically perceivable substances destined to increase one’s congenital acumen. Kubisch and Lockwood operate at levels of intuitive interiority unconceivable by the average gatherer of location recordings and electronics. We can literally “feel inside” the gradual effect of sources reconfigured in various types of aural concretization. They emerge as penetrating hums of radiophonic descent, or may resemble marine currents inhabited by a somewhat alien fauna attempting new forms of signal transmission. The ordinary becomes unconventional; the voice of nature and its private tumults get disfigured by deforming lenses that, rather amazingly, emphasize the gravity of each single event.


That these pieces ultimately can stand proudly amidst the finest electroacoustic musics of the last few decades is obviously a plus. However, what really counts is the implicit message: communication does happen at every stage of physical existence, including the supposedly inanimate. In times when most humans are bamboozled by things that do not exist particularized by brains that do not work, what we have to do is raising the aerials way up. Consequences – if there is sufficient emotional fuel in your personal tank – will inevitably materialize.


Frans de Waard | VITAL WEEKLY
These two ladies, grande dame each of them in the world of field recordings and sound installation first met in 1975 when Kubisch interviewed Lockwood for an Italian magazine, and since then off and on meet, but this is the first time they actually work together. They both like underwater sounds and Annea is interested in the force of nature influencing us, and Christina does the same with electromagnetic fields in our daily lives. They exchanged sound material together and worked on each other’s sounds. However if I am not mistaken on each CD there is a solo piece. Annea Lockwood makes the inaudible audible, with ultra and infra sound frequencies, and it begins with “solar oscillations recorded by the SOHO spacecraft, 40 days of solar oscillations sped up 42,000 times, and ends with ultrasound recorded from the interior of a Scots pine tree”, and is a truly fascinating aural journey in space; or at least that’s how I perceived it, like a free floating spaceship in a vast, endless, black surrounding, with sometimes intercepting transmissions from other life forms. In her piece with Kubisch there is a fine combination of six sources per composer and has a more down to earth feel to it. Sounds from electro magnetic waves, VLF whistlers and earthquakes make up from very fine ambient piece of music, without betraying it’s musique concrete roots. Kubisch keeps her solo piece shorter than the collaborative piece and is a thirteen-minute excursion in the buzzing whirring of modern day city life. It is a very solid piece of ambient sounds, not loud or alienating, but just solid. It is perhaps a bit of standard solid piece; nothing special or out of the ordinary. But then her longer collaborative piece, ‘Below Behind Above’, is on the other that something special. It works very much along similar lines as the Lockwood side of the collaboration. Here too things remain on a very ambient side of things, with slowly fading sounds somewhere in the mid-range, sine-wave like and very gentle, along with a more ‘stand alone’ sounds, rumbles, pitches and the occasional earthquake. This is a beautiful and intense piece of absolute beauty.


Holger Adam | testcard
Draußen vor der Tür: Field-Recordings und Sound-Art von Gruenrekorder
Gruen, gruen, gruen sind alle meine Farben – bereits zum dritten Mal in Folge eine Gruenrekorder-Kolumne in testcard. Wie immer kommt man aus dem Staunen nicht heraus, wenn man sich die Veröffentlichungen des Frankfurter Labels anhört. Unerschrocken und ohne mit der Wimper zu zucken haben sie die Geräusche von laufenden Filmprojektoren auf Vinyl gepresst: Sounds Of The Projection Box heißt das Album von MICHAEL LIGHTBORNE und es dokumentiert das Rattern der Maschinen, deren Geräusche üblicherweise nicht aus der Kabine von Filmvorführern hinaus dringen. Geräusche, die vom Aussterben bedroht sind, weil Filme ja mehr und mehr digital an Lichtspielhäuser übermittelt und dort abgespielt werden. Insofern wird hier akustisches Kulturerbe archiviert, und wer die Platte auflegt, kann sich bei geschlossenen Augen in die Rolle des Filmvorführers imaginieren und zusätzlich versuchen, den Tonspuren bzw. -fetzen der ablaufenden Filme ein zusätzliches Narrativ abzuringen. Ähnlich abenteuerlich auch die Aufnahmen von GREGORY BÜTTNER, der für Voll.Halb.Langsam.Halt die Fahrt eines alten Dampfschiffes, eines Eisbrechers dokumentierte, bearbeitete und sein Vorgehen sowie das Ergebnis wie folgt kommentiert: „I had the chance to take a trip on the ship from Rostock to Rügen over the Baltic Sea in 2010. The body of the ship is completely built from metal, so it is a big resonant room which sounds very different on each spot which I put my contact mics on (I used two contact mics, so I could record in stereo). I walked around the ship, placing my mics on different areas of the ship and also directly on parts of the steam engine, which is still fired by coal. For the composition I only used the pure recordings without additional sound manipulations, only juxtapositions, transitions and cuts.” Alles klar? Der Kahn bzw. das, was Büttner aus seinen Geräuschen macht, kann locker mit Merzbow mithalten. Harter Stoff. Metallisch kühl, aber weniger krachend klingt auch Gasworks von GERALD FIEBIG feat. EMERGE & CHRISTIAN Z. MÜLLER. Der Ort als Resonanzkörper für Geräusche bildet das Ausgangsmaterial für diese CD. Entsprechend räumlich ist in der Tat viel von dem, was es zu hören gibt, organisiert: Echo und Hall spielen eine große Rolle im Klangbild – aber auch eine dialekt-gefärbte Stimme, die von der industriellen Nutzung des Gebäudes erzählt, kommt, ergänzt um Geräusche, zu Wort. So entsteht für das Gaswerk von Augsburg-Oberhausen ein Denkmal. Der gleichermaßen verspielte und dokumentarische Charakter der musikalischen Arbeiten verwandelt den frühindustriellen Arbeitsalltag in eine geisterhafte Klangreise: „Des gibt’s heut‘ nimmer.“ Bemerkenswert. Maschinenmusik ist auch auf der Slotmachine-10“ versammelt, einem Projekt von ACHIM ZEPEZAUER, der von unterschiedlichen Musiker*innen jeweils 45 Sekunden lange Klangskizzen anfertigen ließ, die in der Logik eines Spielautomaten und nach Zufallsprinzip geleichzeitig aufgerufen werden können. Realisiert ist das im Rahmen einer Online-Anwendung, die das Bedienen eines virtuellen Spielautomaten zur Erzeugung der Zufalls-Kompositionen zugänglich macht, hier: Viel Spaß! (Die 10“ dokumentiert nur einen kleinen Teil der gewissermaßen unendlichen Kombinationsmöglichkeiten.) Auch KATHARINA KLEMENT liefert mit Peripheries, einem akustischen Portrait der Stadt Belgrad, eine quirlig-nervöse und herausfordernde Arbeit ab. Unter Zuhilfenahme des Stadtplans erstellte Klement eine kartographisch inspirierte Partitur. Verschiedene Lokalitäten in der Stadt wurden aufgezeichnet und ineinander gemischt. So entsteht ein wahres Klang-Gewimmel, das beizeiten wirklich anstrengend sein kann. Ich empfehle nach Selbstversuch folgendes: Die Aufnahmen auf dem Balkon abspielen und die Balkontüre offenlassen, während man im Zimmer bleibt. So entsteht der Eindruck, draußen sei Belgrad! Bei der Gelegenheit gebe ich gerne zu, dass mir im Zweifel die eher ruhigen Aufnahmen aus tropischen Gefilden lieber sind. F. Guyana von MARC NAMBLARD hilft sich vom Stress in Belgrad zu erholen. Allerlei hypnotisches Summen, Surren und Dröhnen der Flora und Fauna von der Nordküste Südamerikas! Auch DAVID ROTHENBERG hat wieder mit allerlei Vögeln Musik gemacht und sich für Nightingale Cities auch zusätzliche menschliche Instrumentalist*innen dazu geholt. Die in Berlin und Helsinki angefertigten Aufnahmen gehören sicherlich zum zugänglichsten Material in dieser Kolumne, die Vögel sind freundliche Wesen, die Musik ist es auch. Wer noch nie eine Gruenrekorder-Produktion gehört hat, kann vielleicht auf diesem Weg einen sanften Einstieg in den Katalog des Labels finden. Frühlingsmusik. Ganz anders und noch besser: die Windharfen-Aufnahmen auf Path Of The Wind von EISUKE YANAGISAWA. Windharfen, große Saiteninstrumente in die Brise gestellt, werden buchstäblich von der Natur gespielt und je nachdem, wo die Windharfen standen mischen sich unterschiedliche Umgebungsgeräusche unter die betörenden Klänge der Instrumente. Ambient Drone mit Seemöve. Minimal Music mit Meeresrauschen. Näher an New Age Klanglandschaften waren Gruenrekorder vielleicht nie, und es schadet nicht: Absolutes Highlight! Das Meer rauscht auch auf De Rerum Natura / Dance of the Elements von MERZOUGA, die nichts geringeres als eine Komposition auf Grundlage des Lehrgedichtes von Lucretius‘ wagen. Soweit so ambitioniert, aber da muss man sich nicht abschrecken lassen. Musik ist immer Ausdruck von Ideen, hier eben einer dezidiert philosophischen. Und elektronische Musik eignet sich auch nicht erst seit gestern, zur Verdeutlichung, mithin Vermittlung abstrakter Vorstellungen. Und so knistert es kleinteilig, die Atome tanzen unsichtbar aus den Lautsprechern, eine Stimme flüstert hier und da Versatzstücke in englischer und lateinischer aus dem Gedicht usw. – ein kurzeiliges, abwechslungsreiches und durchaus spannendes Hörerlebnis, das dem Überbau entsprechen mag; letztlich aber spielt es zum Genuss der Komposition keine entscheidende Rolle, würde ich meinen. Ähnlich gelagert ist es womöglich im Fall von The Secret Life of the Inaudible von ANNEA LOCKWOOD und CHRISTINA KUBISCH anzuhören. Die beiden Klangkünstlerinnen haben sich Soundfiles von an sich bzw. für Menschen nicht hörbaren geophysikalischen Phänomenen zur gegenseitigen Bearbeitung vorgelegt: elektromagnetische Wellen, Ultraschallwellen, Sonnenwinde… akustische Ereignisse also, die zunächst technisch in eine für das menschliche Ohr hörbaren Frequenzbereich überführt werden müssen und von Kubisch und Lockwood bearbeitet wurden, und die dann – wie auch immer das im Detail von Statten ging – daraus sozusagen dunkle Materie gewannen. Mich würde einmal interessieren, inwiefern, das geologisch-kosmische Quellenmaterial, wo es ohnehin in den hörbaren Bereich übersetzt und also synthetisiert werden muss, nicht auch anders, also mit weniger Aufwand, generiert werden könnte? Ich nehme behelfsweise an, es wäre nicht dasselbe! Wie dem auch sei, das Ergebnis fasziniert: Sunn O))) – Kindergarten dagegen. Finster dräuende, pechschwarze Klangflächen. Wahrhaft infernalische Musik aus dem Reich des sonst Nichtwahrnehmbaren. Hervorragend.