berlin 10439 (2004)

Berlin 10439  [radiopiece] Deutschlandradio, Berlin (D)

Futurist Luigi Russolo wrote in his 1913 manifesto The Art of Noise (“L‘Arte dei Rumori”):
“…let’s walk through a great modern capital with our ear more attentive than our eye,
and find pleasure in distinguishing between the gurglings of water, air and gas inside
metallic pipes, the grumbling of motors that breathe and pulse with indisputable
animality, the throbbing of valves, the rising and fallings of pistons, the screeching
of mechanical saws, the jumping of trams on their rails, the cracking of whips, the
flapping of awnings and flags. We shall amuse ourselves by ideally orchestrating together
the crashing down of metal shop blinds, slamming doors, the hubbub and patter of crowds,
the different racket of railway stations, railways, iron foundries, spinning wheels,
printing works, electric power stations and subways.”

Scarcely one hundred years later, the listening situation in large cities has changed
quite a bit. What Luigi Russolo described as exciting and vital, is now drowned out in an
ocean of hissing noise, buzzing drone and growling hum.
The sound event and its site become noise ambience in space.
Russolo’s urban orchestra turns into a sequencer, clocked by traffic light controls and
train schedules … its multitude of sounds turns into electricity’s two types of
hum (50Hz Europe/60 Hz USA) and the sound of the combustion engine.

Urban architecture functions as an effects box. It generates a space in which the aural
world surrounding us is reflected and resonates. All effects common today in musical
productions can be found in the different architectural situations – from extreme filter
to phaser, bass booster, reverb, delay, compressor, resonator, …

Architecture colors everything we hear. For us, there is no silence.
In the anechoic chamber, we still here the rushing of our own blood.
A sound experience is made up from movement, sound and its timbre from material and space.

excerpt berlin 10439