Berlin aufräumen (Tidying up Berlin). Sound Observation #7

Two-channel digital audio (2011)

I - Berlin
II - Aufräumen (Tidy up)
III - Zusammensetzen (Piece together)

"Sound Observations" is a series of electroacoustic works – live performances and sound installations – that observe the qualities of live or recorded soundscapes.

For "Berlin aufräumen (Tidying up Berlin)", fifty short soundscape recordings were made in Berlin, Germany, each six seconds in length, with ten of them belonging to each of the following five categories: outdoor public spaces, nature sounds, indoor public spaces, trains, and cars. Chance determines the order of the ten recordings within any category as well as the order of categories in the piece.

While the first movement presents the recordings unaltered, category by category, the second movement uses algorithmic feature extraction to organize the recorded sounds: the audio material is split into samples of 1/100 seconds’ duration and then newly arranged so that the samples’ dynamics steadily increase.

For the third movement, the audible spectrum is split into fifty equal intervals. One of the fifty frequency bands from the first recording is audible, two bands from the second, and so on, until the full frequency range is present when the fiftieth recording is played. While the number of frequency bands filtered systematically increases, the combination of audible bands is determined by chance.

Duration: 15’. Audio programming by Fabian Brinkmann. First performed at Diapason Gallery for Sound, Brooklyn, NY on February 24th, 2011

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© Volker Straebel kein Abdruck ohne schriftliche Genehmigung des Autors / no reprint without author's written permission