private city

Radiopiece for Deutschlandradio Kultur

Private City part 1

Private City Part 2

Private City Part 3

Hannes Strobl: Electric Bass, Electric Upright Bass, Field Recordings
Toshimaru Nakamura: No-Input Mixing Board, Field Recordings

Written and Produced by Hannes Strobl
Duration: 42:48 min.

Private City

“ The basic musical experience is the absence of music.“ John Cage

In his studies about the music of the Bosavi people in Papua, New Guinea, Steven Feld has shown that a strong relationship exists, between the aesthetic principals of the music of the Bosavi and their sonic environment — the tropical rainforest.

The music of the Bosavi is a representation of their sonic environment. While here there is an interrelation between music and a natural sound environment, such an interrelation might also exist for musical forms of expression which have their origin in the urban environment. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Italian Futurists and in the early 1950s, Pierre Schaeffer with his Musique Concrete expanded the musical material by integrating the sounds of the city into the music, blurring the boundaries between sound, noise, music and silence.

Music styles like Jazz, Noise, Industrial or Techno are in many ways closely related to the urban space – their aesthetic principals correspond to the sonic characteristics and audtive qualities of the urban environment.

Such sonic characteristics can be found in all big cities and are produced by traffic, machines, media, architecture, infrastructure, transport, etc.

But every city also has its own unique soundscape, created by culture, architecture, topography or climate – and this soundscape shapes the behaviour, senses, thoughts, listening habits and perceptions of city dwellers. Perhaps the typical sound of New York in the 1950s influenced the development of jazz; or the urban sound of Tokyo, with its ubiquitous electronic sounds, influenced the development of Japan Noise Music.
This idea is the starting point of the composition Private City.

The sound material of the piece Private City

(A) Studio recording of an improvisation by the two musicians.
Berlin-based Hannes Strobl and Tokyo-based Toshimaru Nakamura
(B) Field recordings from Tokyo
(C) Field recordings from Berlin

The composition is divided in 3 parts

1.(A)+(B) combined
The audio track of Toshimaru Nakamura in the studio recording (A) is extracted, combined with field recordings from Tokyo (B) and thereby placed in a new musical context. Now it is possible to discover similar rhythmic structures, sound colors, sound textures, microtonalities or atmospheric characteristics of the two recordings.

2.(A)+(C) combined
The same procedure is applied to the audio track of Hannes Strobl (A) and field recordings from Berlin (C)

3. (A) original recording
We hear a section of the original studio recording (A) by the two musicians without the added sound material from Tokyo and Berlin. Now the musical structures, rhythmic patterns, sound textures and dynamic sequences also refer to a level outside the music, and the sonic characteristics of the two cities are still present.