Astrid & Ephraim Wegner – “Feldstudie Göppingen”

For the hour-long production called “Feldstudie Göppingen,” three one-take audio recordings of the same length are layered over each other. The audio for this album was recorded in the centre of Göppingen and serve as the sound archive for the composition. The given time structure also determines the compositional frame of the work. With track titles such as Position 1 & Position 4, there was little imagination used in the titling of these works – was I about to listen to a dry, academic album?

Far from it – “Feldstudie Göppingen” is alive and singing.

Urban field recording is inseparable with Baudelaire’s icon of a flâneur. Wandering through their city at a leisurely pace, flâneur’s are a street stroller. “Feldstudie Göppingen” sees Astrid & Ephraim Wegner strolling through the city streets and interweaving personal memories with immediate sensations as flâneurs. They wandered through the city centre and absorbed and picked up whatever they found and met.

They planned three routes to record multiple sounds at different times of the day. Both artists tried various ways and played with their walking pace to adjust the timing of their walks before they picked up audio recordings along the way. It was a cold and logical process, but it is a warm embrace of an album.

The result is a musical reinterpretation that allows recipients to coexist in several places at various times. When you listen to this album, you stroll through a digitally manipulated, virtual urban network. Recurrent motifs as humming car noises, cheerful birds‘ twittering, and the sound of human voices and steps meet machinery murmur, the grinding sound of a shoemaker’s equipment, the sizzling noise of steam pressure and church organ music. All fantastic.

The creation of “Feldstudie Göppingen” was a contribution to the Spurensuche (search for traces) project of the Netzwerk für Neue Musik Baden- Württemberg. From 3 October until 30 October 2016. When created, “Feldstudie Göppingen” was to be explored in public space with three sound walks along 57 stations in the city centre. The visitors could re-listen to the captured audio episodes at their places of origin, retrace the walking routes and re-experience them – almost an auto-poetic remix of the tracks if you would. To avoid getting lost they could get a multi-dimensional map, where the three walking routes, as well as the stations, were marked.

Accordingly, different devices were available to listen to the sounds of the stations and to compare the existing noises with their individual listening experience. At the same time, a sound installation that transformed the three audio recordings into a one hour-loop took place on two floors of the Kunsthalle Göppingen using one speaker for each route. The whole process of the album’s creation is one of genius.

For the CD release, the artists further processed the soundtracks of the sound installation into a stereo version. More information can be found here and here. “Feldstudie Göppingen” sees the light of day, as a CD release, in October 2017. If you have just a passing interest in Psychogeography, Flâneurs or Field Recording I recommend this album wholeheartedly.

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