The Wire


Stream a mix by the Gruenrekorder label

December 2011

Listen to a selection of recordings and compositions by artists on the German field recording and sound art label, Gruenrekorder.

Ben Owen
"Gowanus-2 (extract)"

from Two
(Gruenrekorder 070/09)
A friend once commented how many of my recordings are from an up close perspective. For me it is this perspective that I return to and find is important, an audible view of a situation – in this case a continuous event – that is not readily audible, or at least is greatly enhanced through amplification from the contact mic surface. In this release the movement of water in two forms becomes the basis of exploration, one active, one passive, each revealing some inherent noise, compression, hum and tension of existence.
Ben Owen

Tom Lawrence
"Moore's Well (extract)"

from Water Beetles of Pollardstown Fen
(Gruenrekorder 087/11)
What is presented in this CD is a very alien world, a hitherto unheard aural environment that breaks with all our preconceived notions of what underwater life should sound like... While every attempt at comparative analysis, spectral analysis and species identification from the known literature have been made, a certain interpretive license has been used in suggesting the meaning of the sounds recorded... Another consideration is that no mechanical devices were operating on the Fen during the period that these recordings were made. They are not contaminated by any electrical interference, so other than an occasional overhead aircraft, there are no sounds from above the water in these recordings.
Tom Lawrence

Mikhail Karikis
"EsimorP (extract)"

from Various Artists: Playing With Words
(Gruenrekorder 065/10)
In this composition, Karikis has drawn inspiration "from oaths of secrecy practiced in the City Of London’s financial businesses" creating a work for a performer who appears in the role of a suited male City office worker. "The piece explores the idea of promising to keep one’s lips sealed by inverting the order of events, (ie the performer has to speak a promise, but his lips are already sealed). Unable to open his lips to pronounce the word ‘promise’, the vocalist swells up with air, his face and neck change radically in shape and colour – in its struggle to find release, the voice subjects the body to dramatic disfiguration."

Slavek Kwi
"Howler Monkeys"

from Artificial Memory Trace: Collection 5
(Gruenrekorder 080/11)
Recorded at Xixuau Xiparina, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas.

Peter Cusack
"Through The Robots (extract)"

from Various Artists: Rhythm
(Gruenrekorder 050/07)
Recorded at the Jaguar car manufacturing plant, Liverpool, UK, 2003.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay
"Landscape In Metamorphoses (extract)"

from Landscape In Metamorphoses
(Gruenrekorder 057/08)
Tumbani is a landscape in change; transforming from green pastures into one of the busiest industrial belts of the Bengal-Bihar border in India. This work is based on an extensive phonographic journey made in this area during the spring of 2007... The recordings capture this transformation as the acoustic space slowly changes from a rich environmental variety into a monolithic industrial soundscape... Having spent my childhood there, I wanted to revisit this place. But while going through the recording experience, the topography of my childhood disappeared into nostalgia. This work is not only a sonic representation of a transfigured landscape, it is also a lamentation over my own personal loss of memory and associations with the place.
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay

Bettina Wenzel

from Mumbai Diary
(Gruenrekorder 086/10)
Sound diaries have their seductive appeal. Unlike written memoirs, sketches, cartoons and photo journals, they share a common feature with film documentaries – the temporal sound-image. Deprived of visual information (and of predominance of sight), sound-image attracts listeners’ ears, penetrates their bodies, permeates through their minds, initiating the process of imagination and articulating lived as well as imagined experiences. No escape; intrusive meanings are always present. In contrast to moving images that reduce space and vision to the surface and depth of a screen, sound-images are capable of not only extending the listeners’ universe but also making them aware of and signifying the impulses within their bodies. If combined with appropriate musical expression, as in the case of Bettina Wenzel’s Mumbai Diary, the ambition to represent the unique artistic intention in correlation with genus loci and intimacy of a place where one finds oneself in a particular moment succeeds in producing interaction.

Craig Vear
"Adélie Penguins (Jenny Island) (extract)"

from Antarctica
(Gruenrekorder 089/11)
In the Winter (Austral Summer) of 2003/4 I embarked on an ambitious musical project in Antarctica... The purpose of my visit was to compile a unique library of field recordings from the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions, which would become a sound source for musical composition... I journeyed to far and desolate lands, recorded colonies of penguins and seals, flew to isolated huts deep in the Antarctic peninsula and smashed through pack ice aboard an ice strengthened ship. I experienced the euphoric highs and the mind-crushing lows of solitude, the overwhelming presence of all who had come and gone, together with the realisation that I was, as a human and an artist, a mere speck on this planet.
Craig Vear

Andrea Polli
"Countdown (extract)"

from Sonic Antarctica
(Gruenrekorder 064/09)
Sonic Antarctica features natural and industrial field recordings, sonifications and audifications of science data and interviews with weather and climate scientists. The areas recorded include: the McMurdo Dry Valleys (77°30′S 163°00′E) on the shore of McMurdo Sound, 3,500 km due south of New Zealand, the driest and largest relatively ice free area on the continent, completely devoid of terrestrial vegetation. Another is the geographic South Pole (90°00′S), the center of a featureless flat white expanse on top of ice nearly nine miles thick.
Andrea Polli

Andreas Bick
"Frost Pattern (extract)"

from Fire And Frost Pattern
(Gruenrekorder 074/10)
“The cold ice burns like the hot fire,” wrote Max Beckmann in 1948 in his letter to an imaginary female painter. The extremes of fire and ice have always been a popular metaphor for the opposites of ardent passion and unfeeling frigidity, of flux and torpor – extremes which, for all our polarising ways of perceiving them, are very similar. This is also true in the acoustic field: in terms of their behaviour and dynamics, the sounds we associate with fire and ice (as created by volcanoes, glaciers, embers, snowfall and many others) seem to be related and are sometimes almost indistinguishable. The loudest natural sounds on Earth are linked with volcanic eruptions and colliding icebergs. The sounds involved range from the infrasound of volcanic tremors and the so-called “singing icebergs” through to the near-inaudible high-frequency crackling and whistling of falling snowflakes and glowing coals. These extremes of hot and cold lie to either side of the moderate temperatures where life is possible. Nonetheless, a magical attraction is exerted on humankind by these outer reaches of the world it inhabits, as shown by our unbroken fascination with the polar regions and with volcanoes. The twin works Fire Pattern and Frost Pattern examine the sound worlds of extreme temperatures: beginning with the loudest sound event in each case – volcanic eruption, iceberg collision – the various intermediate states of hot and cold are explored in acoustic terms, embedded in two similar compositional sequences.
Andreas Bick

Heike Vester
"Carousel Feeding Killer Whales (extract)"

from Marine Mammals And Fish Of Lofoten And Vesteralen
(Gruenrekorder 066/09)
Killer whales (Orcinus Orca) feed on herring using a method called carousel feeding: the whales herd the herring tightly together and chase it close to the surface, where they hit it with their tails to kill or stun it. Then they eat the herring one by one. You hear many clicks, which the whales use for echolocation to find the herring. Buzzes, calls and whistles are used for communication, and in addition you hear tail slaps that kill the herring. Recorded in Tysfjord, Norway, 2005.
Heike Vester

Frank Rowenta
"A: 62:00 min. (extract)"

from Raumstudien #01
(Gruenrekorder 044/07)
Acoustic incidents in a room were recorded with a basic cassette recorder, old 120s BASF LH (the orange ones) with no noise suppression or filtering. There are two automatic rhythm devices in the room. These machines create very gentle noises that change over a period of hours. Otherwise there is no other sound in the room. Hopefully after a while the listener acoustically acclimatises to the low level volume, similar to how your eyes get used to a very dark space. Besides the rhythmic tick-tacking sound, there are several noises that are almost inaudible, but impossible to identify or to categorise.
Frank Rowenta

Mick O’Shea
"Spectrosonic Drawings (extract)"

from Spectrosonic Drawings
(Gruenrekorder 079/11)
In 2003 O’Shea made his first drawing table with two contact mics attached on its right and left ends, so as he drew a visual line from right to left, a sonic line also travelled in the same direction.

Rebecca Joy Sharp & Simon Whetham
"The Clearing Part 02"

from The Clearing
(Gruenrekorder 077/10)
Originally intended to be recorded outdoors during International Dawn Chorus Day, this was captured at 4am on 4 May, 2009, outdoors.

I had suggested to Simon that we might use a piece of mine called The Clearing, a fairly ambient piece that I wrote a few years ago (in fact, a homage to John Martyn’s Small Hours), that had never quite found a home in anything else I’d done. It ended up being the only composed (musical) element we used; any other tunes I played felt intrusive and arbitrary and were quickly abandoned in favour of abstract improvisation.
Rebecca Joy Sharp

Costa Gröhn
"Bouboukas Part 10"

from Bouboukas
(Gruenrekorder 035/05)
Bouboukas is a small village in the mountainous area of Peleponnes in Greece. In Summer, the population of Bouboukas is about fifty people. During Winter there are only about three small families. In fact, there are many more sheep who live there than there are people.

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