Rotating psychoacoustic tuning curves, 2008

Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Multi-channel audio work encoded for 47 channel The Morning Line Sound System
40 min

The pastiche of an outdoor pavilion, an acoustically permeable and open formation, and the loudspeaker groupings as a quasi "enclosed" arrangement interests me in addition to the paradigms of sound / pavilion dualities by Iannis Xenakis, Billy Klüver and E.A.T and Bornemann / Stockhausen. The piece starts with an emission of a superabundance of complex noises, synthesized by an "improved" version of the Xenakian technique of the dynamic stochastic synthesis and rapid sequences of pulsars and Gaussian-shaped grains. In a synchronistic prelude these streams of sounds penetrate the open cell structure of the pavilion before a slowly evolving shift of audible perspective embarks and the movement of sound is structured by patterns shaped in the style of Heinrich Klüver's form constants. "Many observers see geometric visual hallucinations after taking hallucinogens such as LSD, cannabis, mescaline or psilocybin; on viewing bright flickering lights; on waking up or falling asleep; in 'near-death' experiences and in many other syndromes. Klüver organized the images into four groups called form constants: (I) tunnels and funnels, (II) spirals, (III) lattices, including honeycombs and triangles, and (IV) cobwebs".

The spatialization of sound will mutate once more with crescendos of threshold-equalizing noise (TEN) noise bursts. TEN, a novel from of noise developed by Brian C. J. Moore and the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, is "designed so that, when it is present, the level of a sine wave required for it just to be detected is the same for all frequencies. In other words, all frequencies are equally detectable (or undetectable) in the noise" and thus will mask the high-pitched streams of Gaussian-shaped grains preceding this event. The final part of the piece offers a drastic restructuring in sound and spatial movement with a short sequence of nonmusical tones, as employed in the perceptual psychology experiments of auditory scene analysis, characterized by a grouping process in which sound energy that is likely to have arisen from the same source is packaged together to form a perceptual whole. – Florian Hecker

*1975 in Augsburg, Germany | Living and working in Vienna, Austria and Kissing, Germany