tokyo tanka


Radiowork for Deutschland Radio on the occasion of John Cage`s 100 birthday
Cage 100 – slouch hat comeback

Hannes Strobl: field recording, electric upright bass, composition
duration: 7:40

The source material for the piece “ tokyo tanka “ is an audio recording of a road crossing in the Ikebukuro district (Tokyo) from 2009. The algorithm of traffic lights create a sound pattern that is characterised by a wave-like progression.

<<< crescendo <<< the acoustic space becomes dense – a drone of engines dominates the place – other sounds are masked – vehicles racing over tram tracks create different rhythmic patterns depending on their speed – engine glissandi in different tempos and pitches can be heard.

>>> decrescendo >>> the acoustic space opens up, becomes softer, the sound space gains depth – footsteps, voices, water, wind – the sound of man and nature come to the fore – a tanka (an approx. 1,300 year old japanese poetry form) sounds through public loudspeakers, a device which is ubiquitous in modern Tokyo.

Spectral layers in different registers interact with the urban sound space, giving it a poetic and musical appearance – a familiar urban sound situation is heard anew.