Etude aux usines à fer (1996)
(Homage to Pierre Schaeffer)
First performance 18.8.1996, Schaffhausen steel foundry (first released on an STV (Association of Swiss Musicians) compilation CD) In this étude, I tried to discover latent rhythms within several short recordings from a steel foundry, which, although they lurked in the background, remained somehow inaccessible. In the process, I primarily used a software written specifically for the restoration of old vinyl records, the usually undesired side effects of which interested me particularly.
Cheese and chocolate (1986)
First performance 26.4.1986, Cambridge Mass. USA
A soundscape from the idyllic, and less idyllic, world of Swiss folk music. The samples originate from the archives of sound engineer Walter Wettler, who played a leading role in the rediscovery of Switzerland’s traditional folk music.
(First released on the SZCM (Swiss Center for Computer Music) compilation CD “Swiss Waves”) Sommerau – a former farm with a large barn near Oetwil am See in the Zurich highlands of Switzerland, was, at this time, home and workplace to a group of men and women active in social and artistic professions – a blend of 18th century architecture and late 20th century computer engineering. I spent some of the best and some of the most difficult years of my life here. It was a place where ideas were born, such as the concept of the Swiss Society for Computer Music, which subsequently became the Swiss Center for Computer Music. “Hausmusik” is a composition which grieves – a farewell to familiar surroundings. Sounds produced by the house itself and those which could be heard in its rural surroundings were processed in the computer studio located in the old barn. The most important tools were a Macintosh Quadra 650 computer, ProTools Hard- and Software and the programmes SVP (by IRCAM) and Hyperprism.
The sound of my mother’s violin playing has long since faded away: she died in the year 2000. During the course of her chequered life, her career as a soloist stalled repeatedly; in the last years of her life, the afflictions of old age caused her, and her playing, to lapse into complete silence. In this piece, I attempt to capture my memories of her, telling her story in a manner similar to a jazz player improvising in a solo. The sound material originates from recordings of her trio “Lore Durant” and other recordings found amongst her belongings.
I created two soundscapes using material captured in the Swiss community of Zollikon, near Zurich, for an exhibition by the visual artist Urs A. Furrer. “Introvertiert” (“Introverted”) shows the quiet side of the community, while “Extravertiert” (“Extroverted”) emphasises the modern, noisy one.