Steffi Weismann: apropos - for six live voices, computer voices and rotating objects (2006)
compostion: Steffi Weismann
performer: Die Maulwerker
Pre-production: Fernwärme score exchange
performed at: ZKM Karlsruhe 2006; Symposion Musik und Sprache, KKL Luzern; maulwerker performing music, TESLA Berlin 2006, Thetaer Mannheim 2007, Moments Musicaux Aarau 2008
duration: 10 min.
‘apropos’ is a composition that compresses three different acoustic sources in a communicative playing situation. The first acoustic source consists of a tape that Steffi Weismann produced from vocal material she acquired in a ‘text-to-speech’ process by having North American computer voices utter meaningless letter combinations and single syllables at high speed. The second source is made up of the voices of live performers: six speakers sit across from each other in pairs in a row and react to the tape by imitating the synthetic voices. Alternately they produce electronic-sounding noise fields by rotating balloons with little balls inside. These sounds blend into the overall acoustic picture as a third element. The performance becomes a multilayered digital singsong by analogue means.
The coloured balloons, from which the players elicit sounds using economical movements, dominate the piece optically. The basic situation is static, and interrupted by only a few gestures, for example by abstract waving motions during a longer quiet passage. The players perform their duties with naïve facility, and their affirmative basic attitude, combined with the reduced dialogues and restricted behavioural patterns, creates an oddly comic impression.