Christina Kubisch, Christopher Williams: Groundwave Rondo (Magnetic traveling)
A collaboration between composers and sound artists Christina Kubisch, who has worked with the phenomena of electromagnetic induction since the late seventies, and Christopher Williams, who discovered the hidden worlds of radio in 2007.
In an old dictionary from 1912 the term Reise (travel) is defined as "Bewegungen nach entfernten Orten" (movements to distant places).
Today the idea of reaching distant places is mostly seen as a digital travel and not as a real physical experience.
Our trip to the Czech Republic in October 2015 was both.
We traveled between "distant" places which we did not know before, by train, tram, funicular, and on foot. And we traveled between different realities: "natural" sounds, the worlds of electromagnetic fields, and the worlds of radiowaves. Armed with special headphones that make electrical currents audible, and with an AM radio that receives radio waves interrupted and transformed by moving trains, for two days we explored many different ways of traveling.
We sat still, moved around, listened passively, and actively captured sounds by directing our tools in different directions; we visited small cities, villages, a forest, and a mountain. The trip took us from Berlin to Liberec, meandering most of the time between the German Saxon area and the northern Czech Republic.An interesting aspect of recording was the change to our perception of everyday reality. Intense invisible wavelengths contrasted with the view of peaceful and sometimes uniform landscapes, or with train compartments whose passengers experienced quite different soundscapes than we did. It made us understand that there are many realities surrounding us that we do not normally see or hear.Groundwave Rondo (Magnetic Traveling) is an extension of this adventure, this experience of a dual reality.
The structure of the piece follows the itinerary of the two days of traveling. The soundscape ends with the arrival at the top of the Jeschken, the mountain above Liberec which is home to a Czech radio transmitter.
Some parts of the composition were elaborated together, some improvised individually as a surprise to the the partner. Williams' contrabass improvisation, an instrumental journey in itself, gives a frame and a narrative anchor to this intense and arresting auditory experience and brings the listener back to a sound reality which he knows. Sometimes.
Magnetic and radio recordings: Christina Kubisch and Christopher Williams, 2015.Field recordings: Christina Kubisch and Christopher Williams, 2015.
Contrabass: Christopher Williams, 2016.
Contrabass recordings: Eckehard Güther, 2016.Final mix: Christina Kubisch and Christopher Williams, 2016
Sound engineering: Eckehard Güther, 2016.