This work for Kunstradio reimagines and reflects the diversity and relationships of acoustic communications I personally hear and create in urban and suburban soundscapes. My recent travels and residencies in Chicago, Austria, and Germany serve both as a theme and a source of sounds. These tones and noises come from simple handheld and handmade electronic instruments, field recordings, and computer-based audio manipulation.
Over a month-long residency at AIR Krems, a week in Augsburg, and early this year, at the Ragdale artists community, I experimented with many physical and digital objects and materials, and even a piano. Featuring prominently are resynthesized sounds of a public address announcement and passing trains in Vienna, fireworks in Krems, and my tabletop experiments with voice, inductors and electromagnetic fields, and a self-built light-sensing oscillator. Piezoelectric vibration sensors on my larynx and pencil amplified the bodily movements of writing and speech. A friend's accidental cell phone call and long recorded message, made while she walked steadily at 120 bpm, provided a rhythmic, noisy and humorous artifact of everyday experiences in mobility and wireless transmission.
Some sounds conceal their origins once recorded. The idling boat engine on the Danube River could be a low note on contra bass. Cold winter wind blowing through brittle dried burdocks in the prairie, with a faraway train horn, offers an odd perspective; such extremes of distal and proximal sounds, recorded in one place at one time, make it seem artificial. Two summer outdoor soundscapes also appear. Now in Chicago, different species of cicadas produce a whine very similar to electrical transformers and my digital processes. They mix with the flyovers of air traffic approaching O'Hare International Airport. While both are relentless, soon the cicadas will pass. Outdoors in Augsburg, trams, cars, and lawnmowers dominated while I played my oscillators harmonized with the machinery. My newly invented instrument, the Schaschliktstäben Violin leads us out at this piece's conclusion.
Thanks to EMERGE, Ö1 Kunstradio, SAIC and the AIR Krems staff. Thanks also to open source and free digital tools made and shared by Nobuyasu Sakodna and Michael Norris.