SOUND INSTALLATIONby Irmin Schmidt & Kumo

    Commissioned by the Barbican Centre London - as part of the "Electronik" Music festival : 13 - 18th October 2001 also featuring Karlheinz Stockhausen, Talvin Singh, Craig Armstrong & London Sinfonietta, AphexTwin & William Orbit.


    ELEKTRONIC - Programme Notes
    by Robert Worby:


    Irmin Schmidt studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen during the early 1960s and then went on to form the seminal rock group Can. In 1998 he composed the opera 'Gormangahst' and Kumo assisted him with audio engineering and programming. They have been working together since that time.

    This installation, especially commissioned by the Barbican Centre for Elektronic, focuses on the idea of transformation - transformation of sound, transformation of space, transformation of perception. A loudspeaker array sonically defines the installational space and familiar soundworlds dissolve into the imaginary through electronic processing. The babble of conversation becomes the buzz of insects, private spaces become public, one voice becomes many.

    16 channels of sound on tape will be projected through 20 loudspeakers and in addition several microphones will capture the ambient sounds of the Barbican foyers. This real-time material will be processed by the artists and fed into the system creating layers of temporal shifting much like the 'Studio Conversation' in Region II of Hymnen. The presence of the artists and their manipulation of live sound lends a strong element of performance to the installation. There is also a layer of pre-recorded choral material that Irmin Schmidt compares to Roman columns plundered and recycled in later European building work. Again this material is presented as 'found' and then transformed into a completely new artefact. A strata of rhythmic material, with a regular underlying pulse, is generated from electronic and concrete sounds but this pulse is grouped into irregular metres creating isometric and polyrhythmic structures that glide in and out of the texture.

    This piece has strong links to many of the works being performed in this festival not least in its articulation of space through sound, a concept employed by Stockhausen in the late 1950s and continued through to the present day by many of the artists appearing in Elektronic.


 
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