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The three mausoleums: Vigeland, Asiago & Turkestan

We’re starting the week with a visit to three very sombre, but very different locations – the three mausoleums on our Sacred Spaces map.

Asiago, Italy

First is the Sacrario Militare in Asiago, Italy – a huge, imposing monument to those who lost their lives in World War 1, housing the remains of more than 50,000 Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers.

You can hear the vast, stone-and-marble resonance of the space in the field recording, along with the sounds of grass-cutting and gardening seeping in from the outside, eerily reminiscent of the sound of aircraft overhead.

Antriksh Bali created a new piece called “Hounds of War” from this recording:

What pulled me to this recording was the fact that while most other spaces / sounds seemed to be based more towards closed spaces (however big they might have been), I imagined this place to be more ‘open’. That was one factor.

“Another factor was the audio had these bass under-tones to them and it just painted a bleak picture, something that I thought could really work with from the perspective of how I look at sounds. The audio in particular was more mechanical / industrial in nature and I feel more comfortable working with sounds of that nature.

“What struck me as prominent throughout the recording was this undertone of a sound throughout that sounded like a nearby airplane. I started trying to model some of the sounds I could hear in the recording using software analog synths. While initially, the idea was to model everything with analog synths, due to certain limitations I had to get a bit creative.

“I approached the entire reimagining in the form of layers. Having started with a realistic bass sound that was somehow similar to the plane in the distance, I decided to imagine what things would sound like from the perspective of the distant plane. Furthermore, on doing a bit more research about where this was recorded, I realised that it was something like a war memorial. I felt that this setting was perfect to demonstrate with sounds, the horrors and destruction that often accompanies war.

“As I added more layers, I added in more elements that were new and more dissonant and eventually ended up with a track that is more “fantastical” in nature, rather than realistic.

“To sum up, my idea was to depict what a fighter plane going into war hears (if not realistically or externally, you could also assume some of those sounds could be things soldiers might hear internally or in the world around them during a war).”

City version:

Memory version:

Oslo, Norway

Next up is Leon Muraglia‘s recording of the foreboding Vigeland mausoleum in Oslo, Norway, selected by Hazal Elif Yalvac to recompose:

“I selected this Vigeland Mauseoleum – I have always wanted to visit it to hear it in real time. I was in Norway in 2014 September, visiting Oslo as well, seeing the legendary Vigeland Park. And I also had the chance to visit Bergen back in 2015, August. I didn’t have the chance for Vigeland Mauseoleum during any of my visits.

“But I wanted to take this opportunity to reimagine the sound of a space that I’ve never seen before. Norway is home to some of Earth’s most attractive natural beauties as well as a unique deep history of Vikings. As one of the most peaceful countries of our planet, it inspires me a lot. I wanted to imagine a conflict of a legend that, in my story, used to take place in this mauseoleum.

“Here, Norse Gods and evil forces are depicted in this piece. First of all, the resonance effects I designed through use of both granular and long textural delays represent the roaring of Gods.

“Apart from designing such sounds, I also tapped into a simplistic technique of additive synthesis on the human-like choir sound at the end of the original recording by simply adding frequency-shifted sounds also through ring modulation, which I wanted to turn into an absorptive acoustic space, getting bigger with decays and diffusion as well as through the freeze effect. I attempted to tap into a wide range of frequency spectrum. I therefore included noisy and glitchy textures as well.

“However, I thought that such sounds I designed through pulsar synthesis, as coined by Mr. Curtis Roads, should fit into this atmosphere of such venue as Vigeland mauseoleum that can offer a great acoustic space. To this end, I tried to avoid an artificial sound design for such millisecond sounds, which could also create great spaces, but in this case, I wanted to achieve a consistency and coherence of sounds.

“So, I designed this as a response to lengthy textural drones. I also tapped into subtractive synthesis by using filtering techniques mostly including low-pass filtering. While the delay resonances represent roaring of Norse Gods, they resolve into a voice-like drone which represents death as an indication of respect for those beloved ones we lose/lost. In this case, Gods might have been fighting against dark forces.

“Those dying are commemorated but dark forces do not leave, which are represented through noisy textures after the resolution of drones. Still, a peaceful darkness is there because no matter what, the evil ones will be fought against, as represented with the low-pass filter drone resolution at the end.”

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Memory version:

Turkestan, Kazakhstan

Our final stop today is our first recording from Kazakhstan, courtesy of Patrick Franke, who writes: “The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi is not only the most important sacred site for Kazakh Muslims, it is also a breeding site for about hundred pairs of Common Myna Acridotheres tristis tristis and Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula soemmeringii, which breed in cavities, formed by erosion all over the frontage of the building.”

John Wiggins, who reimagined the sound, simply writes: “this mausoleum was a place of worship, a spiritual location. To me that meant these sounds were from another place and I tried to invoke that dimension.”

City version:

Memory version: