I am currently immersed in an experimental musical project called Belongings. The work in progress brings to life the acoustics of the charmingly old-fashioned, chaotically sprawling apartment, which my father has been living and working in for over forty years. It is, essentially, my aim to “play” the apartment as a musical instrument, and to use its materiality as the source for a musical rediscovery.
The eccentric space, which I am trying to capture in my music, consists of an array of smaller and larger rooms, the number of which seems to oscillate between seven and nine. While some of the smaller rooms, crowded with old instruments, dusty suitcases, and overflowing bookcases, appear to have been largely forgotten, the largest room is host to little more than a Midi-equipped Fazioli grand piano.
My father, a physicist and loudspeaker designer (founder of the studio monitor company ADAM Audio) has always had a generous open-door policy. Often, several rooms were occupied by composer friends, touring musicians, remote relatives, or obscure visitors who stayed for days, weeks, sometimes years. Sure enough, these urban nomads left things behind – traces still lead in all different directions. And yet, abandoned typewriters, musical scores, tennis rackets, and old armchairs can no longer be matched with their owners and have gradually taken on a life of their own.
While I only visited the apartment when a child, its vast record and instrument collection is largely responsible for my education in classical and contemporary music. It was here that I stumbled upon works by Morton Feldman, Pierre Schaeffer, and Gyoergy Ligeti, which have had a lasting and formative impact on the way I understand and make music today.
The main idea behind this project is to record, archive, and rearrange the apartments inner acoustical life by turning it into a conceptual beat/found-sound based album. Using a variety of microphone types, I recorded hundreds of characteristic sounds: the creaking and squeaking of floors and doors, the swishing of book pages being turned, running water or dripping faucets, kitchen utensils rattling in drawers, mistuned old instruments such as guitars and a double-bass form a collage of an all too familiar and yet estranged soundscape.
Music/Concept: Freddy Knop
Video: Felix Zimmermann
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