Kunstradio presents three recent radio art works produced by the Irish Radio RTE lyric fm and offered to the Ars Acustica members as so-called Listening Proposals.
1) “I Have No Mouth” by Ian Fleming (2013)
“I Have No Mouth” is an electronic piece composed within the schools of spectral music and post-digital 'glitch' music. It explores the validity of combining elements of both spectral and post-digital approaches in order to create a hybrid aesthetic with which to achieve my compositional goals. Similarities between spectral-thinking and post-digitalism can be identified; they also possess inherent tensions which could ultimately lead to a rich composition. The human voice acts as the main narrative and compositional element, selected for the rich frequential content present in the source material, and its philosophical and thematic affinity to the overall aesthetic. The source material in question is an audio reading of a science fiction short story.
For the piece itself, I decided to follow the narrative structure of the story, with sections of the overall work ordered with reference to what happens during the course of Ellison's narrative. It is divided into 6 distinct sections – one for each character in the story. Each character's 'section' is governed by a combination of their prominence in the story, their actions, and the spectral data garnered from analysis of Ellison's reading of their names.
The chronology of the piece runs:
Section 1: AM – the antagonist
Section 2: Gorrister
Section 3: Ellen
Section 4: Nimdok
Section 5: Benny
Section 6: Ted – the narrator
I have divided each separate section into two subsections. Each of these are based around different frequencies gleaned from the analysis data, with two notable exceptions: the very first part of section 1 contains no pitched material at all, as does the first part of the final section. From a philosophical point of view, each corresponding character section is influenced by the character's actions, the tone and mood reflecting the character's mindset. There is a symmetrical basis to the piece. It begins at its most post-digital, before gradually becoming organic. Section 3 is the most blatantly 'spectral', with a significant use of sustained samples and a minimum of glitched elements. This pattern then repeats in the opposite direction for the remainder of the work...
..I could bang on about this for ages, but I need a break. If anyone is curious as to the different spectral techniques and approaches taken throughout the sections I can send them on details.
Note: This interpretation of 'I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream' was created with the full knowledge and participation of Harlan Ellison.”
2) “Tracing A-7063” by Bernard Clarke (2014)
“’Tracing A-7063’” is a radiophonic impression of a new documentary film in progress (working title A-7063) by the young Polish director Maciek Klich. It grew out of a conversation with Maciek: in Auschwitz last year he met survivor Eva Mozes Kor and interviewed her concerning her experiences at the hands of the infamous Doctor Joseph Mengele. Maciek has set out to tell Eva Mozes Kor’s story in documentary film and animation for the memory sequences of her experience in the Holocaust.
I was intrigued and inspired by what he told me and set out to render such a dual style of narrating a story in sound. I divided my sources into old and new, black and white. I dipped into archive interview audio of concentration camp survivors Roman Halter, Ruth Foster and Maria Ossowski (for me bleached out memory pieces) and also used some of Maciek’s present day interview with Eva Mozes Kor (for me this is black, a stereo present, but also black haunted memory).
I did the same with the music: the opening of Mozart’s Requiem (in a recording as approved by the Nazi regime made in 1941, with all references to Christianity’s Jewish roots excised: 'Te decet hymnus, Deus in Sion' was replaced by 'Deus in coelis'; whilst 'In Jerusalem' was replaced by 'hic in terra') with its whish and crackles and pops-I used these very surface noises to generate (through additive and granular synthesis) a lot of the sounds that follow.
I also transformed the shouts of Sieg Heil Sieg Heil (1’13 – 1’16) into midi patterns that I then used to generate the soundscaping of the various music(s) that 'frame' the voices.
The greatest challenge I faced was the risk of sensationalizing the material: alas, there is what is now called a 'Holocaust Industry' particularly in print, so what was uppermost in my mind was respecting the voices, keeping them as the primary sonic material and letting them tell their tales. That said I also wanted these voices and sounds to work sometimes in opposition and sometimes in complimenting each other.
To do this I turned some of my new soundscapes to traces of themselves (blacks to grey’s): for instance the sound beneath Eva Mozes Kor’s tale of her being tattooed is a stereo rendering bleached out and scratched up to suggest vinyl and also the burning of the pen and ink that will mark her forever: A-7063.”
Eva Mozes Kor, interview with Maciek Klich, Auschwitz, 2013.
Roman Halter, Ruth Foster, Maria Ossowski – Imperial War Museum, London, Random House Audio RC 918
'Sieg Heil, Sieg Heil' – Entartete Musik. A Documentation in Sound, EINE Pool Musikproduktion, Berlin, 65023 AV
Mozart Requiem – Bruno Kittel Chorus/Berlin Philharmonic/Bruno Kittel, Deutsche Grammophon, 459 004-2
3) “hearSpace” von Karen Power (2014)
’hearSpace’ is a new interactive piece of radio art composed for and through Irish radio by Karen Power. It was created live on RTÉ lyric fm on its new music programme Nova on 23rd March 2014 at 9pm, broadcast from Limerick, Ireland. ‘hearSpace’ is based on the idea of exploring the sounds of a particular time, place and memory. It features contributions from listeners worldwide who were asked to record using their phone, a portable recorder or computer, a space that had a special meaning or carried some memory for them.