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Dada hits Norway

Dada hits Norway
11th February 2016 Cities and Memory

Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Statsraad Lehmkuhl

We’re up in Norway today, for two more sounds from our Dada collection.

The first comes from Laurence Colbert, who captured the sound of a tram passing by in Oslo:

“One thing I think the DaDa sound artists would have loved would be granular synthesis.

“This principle / process takes small samples or ‘granules’ of sound from a recording and scatters them about within a given time frame.

“This means you can explode any sound into molecular sized objects playing from different points in time very quickly – it can be reimagined rather like some kind of abstract expressionist painting, or more specifically in this case: DaDa sound poetry.

“The initial recording is of a Tram passing by in Oslo, Norway in August last year, and lasts for one minute.

“The reimagined sound, via granular synthesis: emerges from a particular tone, into scattered phonemes of the moving tram, progressing as the pieces of sound get smaller to a section that sounds like a fire crackling, and then back to a single tone; all in all lasting 2’51’’.”

City version:

 

Memory version:

 

Next we head to Bergen, where Ross Whyte captured this nautical recording from the Statsraad Lehmkuhl:

“The original field recording used in Hearts was made with binaural microphones next to the Statsraad Lehmkuhl in Bergen, Norway. On the recording can be heard the sound of a small ferry boat approaching from across the bay of Vågen.

“The ferry travels back and forth across the harbour every ten minutes throughout the day and its distinctive, percussive sound is a key part of Bergen’s soundscape.
“For the reimagined piece, titled ‘Hearts’, I chose to incorporate the radio play of Orson Welles’ production of Heart of Darkness (public domain). Conceptually, the aim was to recontextualise the sound of a calm, commonplace ferry crossing alongside elements of the much darker tale of a journey along the Congo River.
“The work adopts three dada techniques: abstraction, collage and photomontage. Abstraction is applied most prominently to the original field recording, in its use of time- stretching specific sounds (e.g. a single percussive beat of the ferry) and exaggerating the ‘presence’ of the ferry with increasing reverb and resonators.

“Collage is specifically utilised with the recording of the radio play: short excerpts of dialogue, music, and radio static and interference are arbitrarily extracted from the recording, re-ordered and re-purposed.

“Finally, the overall tonal quality of the work is created through the use of (an interpreted version of) photomontage. To achieve this, three images were ‘sonified’ and superimposed on top of each other. These images were of a map of Bergen, a map of the Congo River, and a photo of an original page of manuscript from Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness, containing the famous line, “oh! The horror!””

City version:

Memory version: