A Model of Infection at Gallery ONKAF

recording, release

New Delhi’s gallery ONKAF comissioned sound artists to produce works for their Life Inbetween series, running 03-12 October. My contribution, the 09:30 min. track Psyche – A Model of Infection is now available on ONKAFs website and on YouTube.

The Greek word psyche, analogous to the Latin spiritus, originally meant breath as well as soul or spirit. The invisible and ephemeral phenomenon of inhalation and exhalation connects the inside and outside of the body, it is both a carrier substance of language and of airborne diseases and also a sign for the liveliness of bodies.
Breath is the starting point of this work: a single and solitary breath, recorded with a throat microphone. The inside corresponds to the body of the individual in a symbolic isolation, which becomes a social reality through the distancing measures against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This isolated sound, a reference to the desire for interaction with others, is linked to field recordings. These sounds were recorded during the recent years in places that are no longer accessible or difficult to visit due to travel restrictions (a collage of street sounds from Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Tokyo and Warsaw). Due to the currently unbridgeable distance, the acoustic reminiscences of these places are charged with nostalgia.
On a further level of the work, an interplay of four different waveforms produced by analog oscillators unfolds in the stereo image – sine wave (left channel), triangular wave (right channel), square wave (half left) and sawtooth wave (half right) appear in a fixed frequency ratio and form a chord. At minute 03:45 a noise signal begins to modulate the first oscillator, the random voltage distribution ‘infecting’ the homogeneous sine wave. The resulting ‘symptoms’ are fluctuations in frequency, a distraction from the normal or ‘healthy’ state. This audio infection is passed on to the next oscillator, while maintaining the characteristics of the sinusoidal oscillation – it is no longer the same noise signal, but a ‘mutation’. This process is repeated until all four oscillations are infected. At the end of the cycle, the output of the last oscillator is fed back to the first – an exponential growth of modulations/infections that changes the characteristics of the whole system.
What remains is the sound of breathing, but no longer as an isolated sound event. By using a vocoder, the sound of breathing becomes the envelope for the collected field recordings, a hybrid sound event that refers to the singularly plural dynamics of the social.

Inconvenient – new tape out on Industrial Coast

recording, release

•front_flattened-X4-PRINT-WALLRAF-07-V-2020

The four track tape album Inconvenient is now available on Industrial Coast.

C35. Jcard. Onbody labels & presentation envelope.

These recordings were assembled in a rather inconvenient way during a period in 2019 when the audio interface on DW’s computer did not work properly. All sounds had to be recorded on mobile devices and then transferred to a DAW for mixing.

The pieces revolve around impossibilities – transducing and transposing inaudible events into the hearable spectrum and mixing unrelated audio from different locations to create the simulacrum of a place that never really existed.

The détournements of song titles by Bob Dylan and Don van Vliet act as a reminder to the possibility of deconstructing your own memories and archives.

The aesthetic choices made during the recording process were influenced by the collage work Une Semaine de Bonté by Max Ernst.

culture’s cancelled #5

live, recording

nemo

This is the 5th and final part in a series of live recordings from before the cancellation of public life… Recorded at Berlin’s Zum Limit on February 21st. Let’s see what happens next. Maybe when everybody’s done with grief work for all the cancelled events we can agree to burn down Netflix and Spotify and expropriate Amazon. When there’s no more room in the internet, the dead will walk the Earth.

culture’s cancelled #1

live, recording

bat

Since nobody will be playing, attending or hosting any concerts for quite a while, this seems like a good time to sift through the archives.

This is the beginning of a new series of audio-documentations of past shows, starting with a recording of a concert from June 26th 2019 at the Bruital Furore festival on Hamburg’s MS Stubnitz. New releases will approximately follow in a weekly order.

It’s a free bandcamp download but a donation is very much appreciated.

Two new tapes released

recording, release

totenkopf hülle und tape

Titled ‚— — —‚ this is a C74 recycled chrome position tape. In each of the four tracks included, sonic developements are explored in a harsh noise context over the duration of approximately 18 minutes. A limited edition is now available on bandcamp (plus digital download) and at shows.

 

gehirn tape stuff

ΔИ΅ϡ͆͊͌͢͟ΦѶ҈Հֆ͜͜͠Ώ​-​-​-​΅ϡ͆͊͌͢͟Φ is a C38 chrome position tape that combines one long track assembled from a collection of home- and field recordings spanning the years 2011 to 2019. Side two features three tracks that juxtapose field recordings with electronically generated rhythmic structures that are intended as soundtracks for nightmares. A limited edition is also available at bandcamp.

1946-1949 released on neoprimitive

recording, release

A limited edition of 100 C30 tapes and/or a digital download is now available on Neoprimitive’s bandcamp site. This album was recorded in 2016 and mixed in 2019. It is based on field recordings collected on north sea beaches and the harbour area of Hamburg.

The concept and design revolve around a flag that german ships had to fly between the years 1946 and 1949:

„After the defeat of Germany in World War II, the country was placed under Allied administration. Although there was neither a national German government nor a German flag, German ships were required by international law to have a national ensign of some kind. As a provisional civil ensign of Germany, the Council designated the international signal pennant Charlie representing the letter C ending in a swallowtail, known as the C-Pennant (C-Doppelstander, C as in capitulation). The Council ruled that ’no ceremony shall be accorded this flag which shall not be dipped in salute to warships or merchant ships of any nationality‘.“

The Noise Beneath The Snow wrote a review of this album:

„Coming to us from the shores of Germany is an intriguing piece that makes heavy use of ocean-side field recordings.  David Wallraf brings us 1946-1949, his new digital & cassette release on the Neoprimitive label.

According to the artist: “in those years (1946-1949) all German ships had to fly a special flag that was not a national ensign due to an order by the allied forces. The sounds and noises on the release revolve around a nautical theme and should be listened to as a critique of the rising tide of nationalism we are dealing with today.”

Taking context aside, what David Wallraf brings us is a recording that is sonically immersive due primarily to the ocean field recordings.  Perhaps the most dynamic and enveloping piece is the 15-minute title track where we hear waves of harsh noise in conjunction with the environmental noises (ocean, birds etc).  It’s quite engaging and almost impossible to take in all at one listen.  One might find the equivalent of the security of a intact ship floating upon the ocean only to be greeted by an oncoming violent storm (tastefully done with harsh noise, I might add).

A track like “Submission” seems to explore more of a structure vs. chaos dynamic with the hypnotic rhythm on top of rising tides of harsh noise only to be completely enveloped like a tsunami.  At 3:40, “Capitulation” is the shortest cut on the 5-track tape.  Definitely a deep-see diving vibe here; very exploratory as we envision the blackened, deep ocean with the distant noise of the cresting waves above and marine life around.

There is definitely a variety of levels of comfort ranging from frightening and paranoid to secure and serene.  Taken with the aforementioned context above, it just makes 1946-1949 that much more of an effective concept and recording.“