Category Archives: narrative listening

New Jerusalem

The last sound piece I worked on in Berlin is called New Jerusalem. I started it early Oktober and finished halfway December. Stories, recordings from various locations in Berlin, melo-dramatic action painting with words and Heimatklänge came together on this release. I called it New Jerusalem, because I suddenly envisioned the fair city of Berlin as such.

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The mini cassette is part of Hal McGee’s wonderful online museum called The Museum of Microcassette Art.

New Jerusalem is the 120th microcassette in the Museum. Take a tour, look, listen and marvel.

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Ranch

The logical consequence of a long stay on a ranch somewhere in California is the release of a cassette with the title ‘Ranch.’ For the composition of this tape I used recordings I made during my stay in California. The recordings include walks, bees, frogs, foot steps on a wooden floor, the very rare Californian rain, an old piano, big trees moving in a fierce wind, a running river.

An other aspect of ‘Ranch’ is the use of cassettes I found in obsolete cassette players, amongst which a beautiful pink sony radio-cassette player. The found tapes were all recorded in the last century. A third component is a quartet of commercial tapes I was given, all four of them a reminder of the glory years of the humble cassette: albums by Joan Baez, Waylon Jennings, The Beach Boys and Judy Collins.

The fourth ingredient is a cassette with a reading on it. These types of cassettes were very popular in the last century. They provided manuals for a better life, a better economy, a better mastering of language, a better way to present yourself in public space, but also recordings of meetings, talks or telephone conversations. The qualities of a cheap and easy to reproduce medium as the cassette were used to its maximum effect. The tape I found was a reading of a Zen Master’s wise words.

When listening back to the recordings, all of which the result of a different mix, I couldnot help noticing that I had captured a moment in the newest history of the West Coast. This didnot happen because of my composing skills, if at all I have any. It is a simple result of the radio voices, the dated music and the snippets of the book by the zen master that got destructed or highlighted, but also mixed with the more intimate sounds of my recordings (that in fact could have been anyone’s recordings).

I connected three walkman to a fourtrack and used the fourtrack as a mixer and a player. In this way I could do a mix using four different sources and record them at the same time on my Marantz. All the twenty tapes of ‘Ranch’ carry the recordings of a different mix. The tape will cost you 7 Euro and will be available at the shop, or at my concerts.

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A Break during Residency

In Sonoma County, here for fourty days to work on my book, I will communicate through twitter . You can go there, check the timeline, look at pictures.

140 characters is all I can afford, right now.

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