shut up and listen! 2019
Permanente Präsentationen, 5. bis 8. Dezember 2019
With bestimmung new york, I intend to foster an awareness for the musical/sonic qualities of language. I spent the summer of 1998 in New York City recording the voices of 15 friends and colleagues speaking always the same phrases and words in different languages. Using digital sampling and some computer processing I extracted speech rhythms, speech melodies or simply sounds and recombined them creating short electro-acoustic pieces. Starting point was my experience that languages, when detached from their semantic and functional context, are perceived as sound events, as music. I am interested in opening up this acoustic space by focusing on melodic and rhythmic patterns, as well as sonic and dynamic characteristics of language, yet seen from a musical viewpoint. Strongly connected to this idea is what I call the individual 'sonic fingerprint' of each voice. The acoustic and also the inherent emotional qualities of the different recordings played an important role within the compositional process. Thus, the 3-5 minutes long pieces emerge from the individual sound character of the respective voices, the influence of rhythmic and melodic textures, as well as my associative assemblage and modification of the recorded voice fragments.
[Bernhard Gal, Oktober 1999]