L4: Four sound art pieces

Daniel Karlsson: Transformations (for Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier)

World premiere at Audiorama july 2011
Duration: 27’40”

Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768–1830) was a french mathematician and physicist.

This piece is dedicated to him for his research, and the paradigm shift in thought that made this piece of music possible.

Markus Tapio – viola da gamba (sopran) 
Sophie Watillon – viola da gamba (sopran & tenor) 
Brian Franklin – viola da gamba (tenor) 
Brigitte Gasser – viola da gamba (tenor) 
Sylvia Abramovicz – viola da gamba (tenor) 
Renée Stock – viola da gamba (bas)


Lise-Lotte Norelius: Isola

Duration: 24’00”

Isola was originally composed for a dance performance with the Swedish dance collective Räserbyrån in 2004, and started as an exploration of wireless sensors and the possibility to translate movement into sound.

The danish visual artist Palle Nielsen’s graphic work on the myth ofOrfeus and Eurydike has served as a crucial source of inspiration.

Commisioned by the EMS and Concerts Sweden.


Åsa Stjerna: SubAqua  

Technical developement: Manfred Fox
Software programming: Andre Bartetzki
Duration: 32’21”

SubAqua is the title of a site-specific sound-installation made for the Hafencity in Hamburg in 2009. The installation isbased on sounds from the sub-aquatic landscape in that specific area, and hasbeen recorded with underwater microphones and then artistically transformed.

The identity of the Hafencity is closely connected to the water. The water mirror which surrounds the area can be regarded as a part of the public space, just as squares, streets and bridges which belong to everyone and at the same time to no one. Under the surface of the water, a peculiar hidden world exists, which also belongs to the city. The social activity of the city, with boats, cars and even tiny frogs sounds through the water. Depth, distances and perspectives are expressed through the sounds from the city, spread through the water as distant echoes of the present life.


Folke Rabe: What?? (1970)

Micromusic and Macromusic
Translation: Jeb Bishop
Duration: 50’51”

My interest in the makeup of various sound phenomena began many years ago. The basic physical preconditions were familiar to me, but I wanted to experience the components of the sound with my hearing. I attempted to “hear into” the different sounds in order to grasp the components that made them up. I experienced how the overtones in a tone sounded on the piano change slowly as they die away. I also attempted to grasp the brittle arpeggio of formants that arises when a vowel is slowly changed at a particular pitch. I also tried, as far as possible, to train my hearing to tease out the complex processes that occur at the origin of a sound.

At the same time as this listening, I was concerned with monotony. My first feeble attempts yielded little; later, more systematic repetitions led to new findings. I found methods by which the transitoriness of sound could to some extent be compensated. Small details and micro-variations between the repeated elements that would not have been noticed in a context richer in contrast then came to the fore. Extended sounds that change and move into one another very slowly have a similar effect.

Hobby experiments of the sort described, as I conducted them, are of course primitive from a theoretical point of view. But this basic experience was exactly what was important to me.

The musical field indicated here is perhaps somewhat foreign to Western musical tradition. In other living cultures it is entirely relevant. This state of affairs is, I believe, connected with the development of musical notation. As this method of fixing sound developed, all the subtler qualities of pitch, sound, and time relationships had to be leveled off. On the other hand, systems of notation first made possible meaningful musical constructions. This fact compensated for the loss just described, making possible the great tradition of European music.

In Western composition, intervals, rhythms, and tone color – to the extent that they eluded notation – were subordinated to a philosophical idea, or at least a motivic/formal one. The sounding fact as such retreated into the background, and the West, in ethno-centric self-idolization, erected its own cultural tradition (be it Beethoven or Coca-Cola) as an example to the world.

But there are in the world many fields of music in which the qualitative element grows from the immediate sound. In such music, one looks in vain for formal elements in the Western sense; this music may thus seem primitive, senseless, or even provocative. In reality, however, these are two different possibilities of musical organization.

Indian musicians said to me that Western music is certainly good music, but they found its technique of phrasing incomprehensible. “The music always breaks off before it has begun.”


What “What??” means:

As you will hear, What?? is constructed from harmonic sounds. These sounds move into one another by means of enharmonic melding of the partials. I chose harmonic sounds because a pleasing richness results from them, but more particularly because the partials reinforce one another through their inner hierarchy, and can thereby produce certain illusions.

I chose the extended, seemingly endless form in order to enable peaceful journeys of discovery in the sound, but also in order to work with this particular material. Electronic devices have no muscles. “Breathing” expressiveness is contrary to their nature; their characteristic quality is an enormous, tireless endurance.

About 85 percnt of the material is made up of electronically generated tones, which however are never present in their static original form. Each partial has been specially treated in itself, which can at times yield a very rich result.

What?? was created in the late summer of 1967, and was realized by me in the electronic music studio of the Swedish Radio. The piece was presented for the first time in the same year as part of a collective evening performance (“Signery”) in the Stockholm Radio Hall by Jan Bark, Bo Anders Persson, and myself.

2011-07-13  Wednesday   13:00   L4
2011-07-14  Thursday    13:00   L4
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2011-07-21  Thursday    13:00   L4
2011-07-27  Wednesday   13:00   L4
2011-08-10  Wednesday   13:00   L4
2011-08-11  Thursday    13:00   L4
2011-08-24  Wednesday   13:00   L4
2011-08-25  Thursday    13:00   L4