BEFORE MUSIC THERE IS BLOOD

Recordings from the music conservatories of Shanghai, St.Petersburg, Napoli, 2013-2017

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki
Artwork by Richard Robinson
Apollo Records / R&S Records

Performances

La Triennale, Teatro dell’Arte, Milano March 28, 2017
Outline Festival, Moscow July 2, 2016
Soundwalk Collective Retrospective, Capo d’Arte, Gagliano July 25 – August 29, 2015

Synopsis

Apollo Records is proud to present a stunning new project from NYC / Berlin based artists Soundwalk Collective AKA the trio of Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli and Kamran Sadeghi.

For ‘Before Music There Is Blood’ they have collaborated with the world’s most prestigious music conservatories (the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (China), The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory (Russia) and the Conservatorio di Musica S. Pietro A Majella in Napoli (Italy).

They entered the hallowed courtyards, corridors and classrooms of these three academies, recorded hundreds of hours of these elite students practicing and rehearsing to the highest standards of virtuosity.

“The piece questions what is music, composition, and ultimately what is harmony,” they explain. “It is an attempt to capture notes out of their context – bleeding into each other through the walls, windows, courtyards and alleyway of the conservatory.”

These unexpected melodies are the result of an impromptu, anarchic musical composition of all instruments, where composers, centuries and civilisations are echoing each other in one acoustic space – ghostly fragments of conversation, skittering percussive stabs, burbling synthesis, oscillating swathes of droning strings and hushed, gauzy ambiance. Max Loderbauer supplies a stunning rework that lets the sunshine into the hallowed academic halls a percolating iridescent odyssey – A fitting return to Apollo Records for Max Loderbauer who produced a series of classics for the label in the nineties as half of Sun Electric.

To give Soundwalk Collective the last word on the topic “Our microphones wondering through the architecture were the silent spectators of the music left behind.”

Releases April 7, 2017
The live performance features a live film shot and composed by Éponine Momenceau, Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2015.
“Before Music There Is Blood” is a project sponsored & supported by The Analogue Foundation. Learn more about The Analogue Foundation, its mission and its founders at www.analoguefoundation.com.

Credits

Credits

SOUNDWALK COLLECTIVE
‘Auditorium Scarlatti’
from the album Before Music There Is Blood
Film by Eponine Momenceau
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Apollo Records
soundwalkcollective.com
randsrecords.com

KHANDROMA

Recordings from the ex-forbidden Kingdom of Lo, Upper Mustang, Nepal, 2016

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

Sacred Spaces, Rubin Museum of Art NYC
November 11, 2016 – June 5, 2017

Synopsis

Audiovisual installation commissioned by the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC.

In the spring and summer of 2016 Soundwalk Collective and Francisco López traveled to Upper Mustang, Nepal, to record the sounds in and surrounding the world’s highest monasteries—the flapping of prayer flags, the chanting of blessings, the echoes of wind from the valley below, and the interplay of sound and silence. These sound environments are presented as a multi-channel audio installation through state-of-the-art speakers, creating an immersive and meditative experience.

Entitled Khandroma, after a spiritual muse in Tibetan Buddhism, the piece is presented as a multi-channel audio installation through state-of-the-art speakers. Visitors can also interact directly by playing individual tracks from the sound environments at dedicated listening stations featuring state of the art Audio-Technica turntables and headphones . The deity Khandroma is an energetic volatile being, also known as “the one who traverses the sky,” and therefore closely related to the sounds of the piece.

Complementing the audio experience, a video installation filmed by Stephan Crasneanscki shows cyclic kaleidoscopic imagery of prayer wheels and flags from Himalayan monasteries, an effect created by handmade kaleidoscopes that are built with glass and crystals and then mounted on the camera lens. The resulting images form inverted triangles, evoking a symbol in Tibetan Buddhism that represents the search for equilibrium and equanimity.

Visitors can also retreat from the winds in the expanded installation of the Museum’s beloved Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room, which opened in 2015. Flickering butter lamps, the scent of incense, and the sounds of monks chanting will envelop visitors as they enter this re-creation of a traditional shrine that would be used for offering, devotion, prayer, and contemplation. The sounds heard in the Shrine Room will be new, original recordings from Soundwalk Collective’s travels in Nepal.

Sacred Spaces and Himalayan Wind are made possible through the generous support of Christopher J. Fussner, The Hoch 2009 Charitable Lead Trust, Rasika and Girish Reddy, and Audio-Technica. Additional support has been provided by Bob and Lois Baylis, Ashwini and Anita Gupta, Preethi Krishna and Ram Sundaram, William and Pamela Michaelcheck, Tulku Tsultrim Pelgyi, Manoj and Rita Singh, Venkat and Pratima Srinivasan, the Zakaria Family Foundation, and contributors to the 2015/2016 Exhibitions Funds.

Khandroma
Composed and Produced by Soundwalk Collective
Wind and tonal field recordings by Soundwalk Collective & Francisco Lopez
Film by Stephan Crasneanscki
Directors of Photography: Gabriele Giugni, Paul Hance
Commission for The Rubin Museum of Art, NY, November 11, 2016-June 5, 2017
Featuring turntables and headphones by Audio-Technica
Produced in collaboration with Analogue Foundation

Audio Preview

Credits

Film by Stephan Crasneanscki
DP: Gabriele Giugni, Paul Hance
Editor: Jenn Ruff
Commission for The Rubin Museum of Art, NY, November 11, 2016-June 5, 2017

KILLER ROAD with Jesse Paris Smith, featuring Patti Smith

Recordings from Ibiza, 2013-2016

Credits

Top Left & Bottom Left – Photo by Patti Smith
Right – Video Still by Barbara Klein

Performances

Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi Nov 4, 2014
Union Chapel, London Oct 27, 2014
Volksbuehne, Berlin Oct 26, 2014
FIAF’s Crossing The Line Festival, NYC Oct 2, 2014
CTM Festival Feb 1, 2014
Soundwalk Collective Retrospective, Capo d’Arte, Gagliano July 25 – August 29, 2015
Venice Biennale, Venice June 1 – November 24, 2013
Deutschlandradio Kultur July 25, 2014

Synopsis

Killer Road is a sound exploration of the tragic death of Nico, Velvet Underground vocalist and 60s icon, while riding her bike on the island of Ibiza in the summer of 1988. A hypnotic meditation on the idea of perpetual motion and the cycle of life and death, the composition features Patti Smith lending her unique voice to the last poems written by the artist. Soundwalk Collective and Jesse Paris Smith use a travel log of field recordings, harmonics, and samples of Nico’s signature instrument, the harmonium, to create a magnetic soundscape.

Recorded and Composed by Soundwalk Collective & Jesse Paris Smith
Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesis, field recordings, electronics
Jesse Paris Smith: crystal singing bowls and resonating acoustic instruments
Patti Smith: voice
Mixed by Kamran Sadeghi
Mastered by Stefan Betke ~Scape Mastering
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Bella Union and Sacred Bones Records

Audio Preview

Credits

‘Killer Road’ from the album Killer Road – A Tribute To Nico
Directed by Stephan Crasneanscki
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Bella Union
Video by Tina Frank

Credits

‘Fearfully In Danger’ – Live at Volksbühne Berlin – from the album Killer Road – A Tribute To Nico
Directed and edited by Barbara Klein
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Sacred Bones Records

 

Press

Pop Matters – September, 2016
“Soundwalk Collective, Jesse Paris Smith and Patti Smith Pay Tribute to Nico’s Haunting Poetry”
by David Chiu

Mxdwn – September, 2016
“Soundwalk Collective & Jesse Paris Smith – Killer Road feat. Patti Smith”
by Drew Pitt

Village Voice – August, 2016
“Patti Smith, Jesse Paris Smith, and Soundwalk Collective Imagine Nico’s Final Hours”
by Judy Berman

Rolling Stone – August, 2016
“Watch Patti Smith Perform Foreboding Nico Tribute ‘Fearfully in Danger'”
by Althea Legaspi

The Village Voice – August 2016
“Patti Smith, Jesse Paris Smith, and Soundwalk Collective Imagine Nico’s Final Hours”
by Judy Berman

The New York Times – July, 2016
“The Playlist: Miranda Lambert Bounces Back and Michelle Obama Sings the Hits”
by Jon Pareles, Ben Ratliff, Jon Caramanica, Nate Chinen

The Quietus – July, 2016
“WATCH: Soundwalk Collective, Patti Smith & Jesse Paris Smith'”
by Christian Eede

Pitchfork – July 2016
“Patti Smith Recites Nico Poetry on “Killer Road” From New Album: Listen”
by Evan Minster

Rolling Stone – November 2104
“Patti Smith Performs Haunting, Unorthodox Nico Tribute”
by Sarah Grant

Zoo #41 – Winter Issue 2013
“I’ll Be Your Mirror”
by Hadley Hudson


PURCHASE HERE:

Sacred Bones Store (US and Canada)
Bella Store (Europe and Worldwide)

A MEMOIR OF DISINTEGRATION featuring Nan Goldin

Based on the homonymous text by David Wojnarowicz, 2015

Credits

“American Obsessions” – Richard Kern
Still from the series American Obsessions 1983 Featuring David Wojnarowicz
Super 8 on digital video, color, silent
1:21 min
Courtesy of the artist and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

Performances

Nuits Sonores Festival May 14, 2015
CTM Festival Jan 24, 2015

Synopsis

Rebelliously struggling against conformity and materialism, multidisciplinary artist, writer and activist David Wojnarowicz was one of the most potent voices of his generation. Born in New Jersey in 1954, Wojnarowicz lived an extremely difficult childhood brought on by an abusive family life and an emerging sense of his own homosexuality. He dropped out of high school and was living on the streets by the age of sixteen, eventually settling in New York’s East Village in 1978. As part of the first wave of East Village artists he befriended and collaborated with many notable artists, including photographer Nan Goldin. By the late 1970s Wojnarowicz’s work took on a focus of “making and preserving an authentic version of history that would contest state-supported forms of ‘history.’” (Wojnarowicz)

Wojnarowicz’s perspective from the fringe directly opposed the idea of a nicely tuned, harmonic society, instead promoting the uncontrollable noise of radical diversity. Diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s, his art took on a more sharply political edge regarding medical research and funding, and morality and censorship in the arts. He died of AIDS-related illness in New York in 1992, at age 37.

CTM 2015’s Opening Concert on 24 January pays homage to Wojnarowicz’s powerful untuned stance through the world premiere of the latest work by Soundwalk Collective with American photographer Nan Goldin and video artist Tina Frank. “A Memoir Of Disintegration” is a sound composition based on David Wojnarowicz’s homonymous and provocative correspondence that explores and captures existence at the margin of society in 1980s underground New York City. An intense and dark journey over street life, drugs, art and nature, politics, friendship, and acceptance, the live performance features Nan Goldin interpreting the most expressive excerpts of Wojnarowicz’s writings. Soundwalk Collective perform a live musical score thick with jarring physicality juxtaposed to a sound memento of field recordings from New York City throughout the past two decades. With live visuals from video artist Tina Frank, and Samuel Rohrer on drums.

Audio Preview

Credits

Film by Barbara Klein

The live visuals consist of excerpts of the following films:
Richard Kern
From the series American Obsessions 1983
Featuring David Wojnarowicz
Super 8 on digital video, color, silent
1:21 min
Courtesy of the artist and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

Richard Kern
You Killed Me First 1985
Featuring David Wojnarowicz, Nick Cooper, Jessica Craig- Martin, Karen Finley, Montanna Houston, Lung Leg
?Music by J.G. Thirlwell
Super 8 on digital video, color, sound
12:00 min
Courtesy of the artist and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

Marion Scemama and David Wojnarowicz
Last Night I Took A Man 1989
Performance and Dialogue: David Wojnarowicz Camera and Direction: Marion ScemamaSuper 8 on digital video, color, sound
4:33 min
Courtesy of Marion Scemama, the Estate of David Wojnaorwicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

Tommy Turner and David Wojnarowicz
Where Evil Dwells 1985
Featuring Joe Coleman, Devil Doodie, Baby Gregor, Richard Klemann, Lung Leg, Jack Nantz, Rockets Redglare, Tommy Turner, Charlotte Webb, Scott Werner, David Wojnarowicz Music by AC/DC, J.G. Thirlwell and Wiseblood
Super 8 on digital video, black and white, sound
31:10 min
Courtesy of Tommy Turner, the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

David Wojnarowicz
Heroin 1981
16 mm film on digital video, black and white, silent
2:33 mins
Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

David Wojnarwociz
A Fire In My Belly (Excerpt) 1986-87
Super 8 on digital video, black and white, color, silent 7:00 min
Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

David Wojnarowicz
Beautiful People 1988 featuring Jesse Hultberg
Super 8 on digital video, silent 34 minutes
Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

David Wojnarowicz
ITSOFOMO (in the shadow of forward motion)
Collaboration with Ben Neill
originally performed in 1989, audio recorded in 1991
DVD
22 minutes
Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York

Press

Berliner Zeitung
“Club Transmediale – Bloß Nicht die Ohren Zuhalten!”
by Markus Schneider

The Quietus
“Not Masochism As A Simplistic Concept: CTM 2015 Reviewed”
by Luke Turner

WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND – Jean-Luc Godard Archives

Recordings from Jean-Luc Godard archives, 2014-2015

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

Festival Novas Frecuencias, Rio de Janeiro December 7, 2015
FIAC, Maison de la Radio, Paris October 24, 2015
Deutschlandradio Kultur May 15, 2015
KW FEED, Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin April 23, 2015

AWARDS
New York Festivals International Radio Awards 2016 Silver Radio Award
Phonurgia Nova, Prix Archives de le Parole 2016 Special Mention

Synopsis

Jean-Luc Godard’s past rests in thousands of cardboard boxes. The filmmaker has incorporated his entire personal archive to an inconspicuous place in France that hides numerous film rolls, personal belongings and reel to reel sound tapes. In 2014 Soundwalk Collective received access to this archive and now offers a Godard acoustic behind the scenes: in meticulous detailed work, the trio’s extracted recordings from before and after Godard’s film takes. Stage directions, the atmosphere on the set, false starts and new attempts to show the universe of a perfectionist and phantasmagoric personality. “Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.” (Godard)

“What We Leave Behind” is a sound piece composed solely of unreleased fragments of sound that were recorded on the film sets of Jean-Luc Godard, and never saw the light of day. The sound composition shows us the very real and somewhat forgotten audiovisual archive of the film director, rediscovered by accident somewhere in France.

The accompanied film is a portrait of contemporary cinema and a reflection on the archive as a recurrent idea in philosophical and artistic thought. In addition to the principles of preservation and conservation, the archive relies on a constellation of ideas of identity, traceability, temporality, space, memory, existence, materiality and historicity.

Recorded and Composed by Soundwalk Collective
Mixed by Tyler Friedman
Mastered by Stefan Betke ~Scape Mastering
Produced by Soundwalk Collective with Francois Musy & Marcus Gammel [Deutschlandradio Kultur]
In collaboration with Wild Bunch

Credits

Film by Stephan Crasneanscki [Excerpt]

Director of Photography & Film Editing: Greg Pedat

 

NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND

Recordings from Berghain, Berlin, 2012-2015

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

Club 2 Club Festival, Turin November 6, 2015
Hoerspielsommer, Leipzig July 5, 2015
PS1 Art On Air, NYC June 10, 2013
Arma 17, Moscow March 23, 2013
Elektroakustischer Salon, Berghain, Berlin January 17, 2013
 January 29, 2013
La Gaité Lyrique, Paris May 25 – September 13, 2013
Lille Fantastic, Lille October 6, 2012
SAVE Festival, Arma 17, Moscow March 24, 2012
 August 5-6-7-8, 2011

Synopsis

A project of sound, architecture and club culture that explores the perception of the beat, through its impact with a structure, surface and the human body.

Soundwalk Collective was given access to the interior of the Berghain building. By sending frequency sweeps to the sound system, at a volume between 98dB SPL and 108 dB SPL, each interior surface of the building reacted by filtering the sound and producing new harmonics, vibrations and textures, allowing the building itself to be played as a musical instrument.

LAST BEAT

Recordings from Arma17, Moscow 2012-2014

Credits

Photo by Arma17

Performances

Soundwalk Collective Retrospective, Capo d’Arte, Gagliano July 25 – August 29, 2015
Arma 6 years, Arma 17, Moscow April 26, 2014

Synopsis

Since 2012 SOUNDWALK COLLECTIVE collaborated with ARMA 17 by recording the vibration and resonance of the architectural structure of the club.
The Collective used a series of custom made contact sensors, each one was placed upon a vibrating area of the building.
The materials that constitute the structure of the building absorbed the sound frequencies and tones in its own unique way, producing in each turn a new sound that often contained a melodic element, allowing the building itself to be played as a musical instrument.

Recorded and Composed by Soundwalk Collective
Mastered by Kamran Sadeghi
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Arma Label

Credits

Film by Tomash M. & Natasha Y. / STEREOTACTIC
Produced by Arma17, Moscow, 2014

SONS OF THE WIND

Recordings from the Gypsies, in Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, 2013

Credits

LP Album Cover
Photo by Stephan Crasnenascki

Performances

Maison de la Radio, FIAC, Paris October 20 – December 24, 2015
Galerie Kai Dikhas, Berlin November 6, 2014
Deutschlandradio Kultur July 25, 2014
Radio France Culture | Atelier de Création Radiophonique October 16-17-23, 2013
Palais de Tokyo, Paris October 4, 2013

Synopsis

A sound poem of the Danube and the Roma people.

The Danube is a mirror of the Indus, where the Gypsy people were born.
Its banks contain the memories and the contemporary history of the Roma, and of their exodus to Europe.
Their ascent along the Blue River, from east to west: from its tentacular delta in the Black Sea, to its spring in the Black Forest of Germany, where it is only a brook.
The process of collecting sound imprints along the fertile silts of its banks results in the words, songs, tales, and music of the Gypsy people. A culture that is marked by accents of guitars, accordions, violins, and voices accappella. The rustle of the long skirts of the women, the random access memory of a people who carry their future according to the jolts in their history – from the settlement forced in the 60s, to the deterioration in the standard of living after the fall of the communism.

To follow the endless road of exodus at the time in Europe which is believed to be without borders.
The murmured, sung and cried story is always the one of the exile or the exodus.
“The Gypsy music is a cry of pain, an ancestral pain which comes from the soul of a whole people”, says the French Gypsy filmmaker Tony Gatlif.
“It is the pure revolt, nothing is made, everything is shouted “.

Recorded and Composed by Soundwalk Collective
Mastered by Stefan Betke ~Scape Mastering
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Asphalt Tango Records

Press

Roots World
by Lee Blackstone

PURCHASE HERE
Asphalt Tango Records [LP-ATR 5014]

AYAHUASQUEROS

Recordings from the Amazon, Peru 2012

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

MALI Museo de Arte de Lima December 2, 2014
Radio France Culture August 24, 2012
PS1 Art On Air, NYC January 22, 2012

Synopsis

In their visions, ayahuasca shamans say they see the essences that animate living beings, the first property of which is to emit melodies. These essences are considered powerful beings, and ayahuasqueros learn their melodies by singing along. Singing like powerful beings, they learn to see like them, and this gives them knowledge. The melodies that shamans bring back from their visions are called “icaros”; they help navigate the space of ayahuasca consciousness, and can also serve as lifelines when overwhelmed by visions. Grab onto the icaros: these songs are made of knowledge.

Audio Preview

Credits

Film by Stephan Crasneanscki
Editing & Special FX by Teresa Pereira

ULYSSES SYNDROME

Recordings from the Mediterranean Sea 2009-2011

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

MUDAM with Lee Bul, Luxembourg February 12, 2014
TAP, Poitiers February 7, 2014
MuCEM, Marseille October 18, 2014
PS1 Art On Air, NYC April 1, 2013
National Museum Singapore August 26-27, 2011
FIMÉ Villa Noailes, Hyéres November 13, 2010
MADRe Museum of Contemporary Art, Napoli September 30, 2010

Synopsis

In the Fall of 2009, some 2,800 hundred years after Homer, we embarked on an old gaff-rigged sailboat to follow the ancient path of Ulysses. Equipped with scanners and aerial antennae, we recorded the Hertzian frequencies all along the shores of the Mediterranean basin. Our intent, was to sonically recreate our own interprtation of the ‘Myth of Ulysses’.
Through the use of our multiple radio scanners, we were able to create a very specific platform, a true sound archive. These scanners simultaneously overlapped sounds in their own free and unexpected ways. This created a trove of accidental encounters of sounds bouncing back and forth from the Middle East to Africa and Europe. During this journey, we became these sort of nautical historians, of words and noise. We intercepted vast fragmentations of history.The interplay of these fragments along with the infinite nature of the sea, resulted in various tonalities, each unique to its region. The result, a chaotic harmony, an audible entropy.
The sound of the sea alone offered us something very exclusive to Ulysses Syndrome. A very specific layered thickness of sound, which can only occur with depth. In order to capture all of these multiple layers, we opened ourselves completely, otherwise this intricate layering of sounds could have otherwise escaped us. These fragile harmonies that surface only on their own free accord became the source and composition for Ulysses Syndrome.
Once back in the studio, our own personal and controlled environment,
we went through a meticulous selection process. We wanted to be certain that every sample transferred the appropriate language and sentiment of each culture. This is very important to us, for this and all projects. The recognition of our shared cultural histories and the reminder of their eternal significance. This editing resulted in an “état des lieux” of our civilization and its relation to the sea and to ourselves. The samples along with the recordings of the sea, allowed us to recreate our journey. The map of our voyage, became the score of our music. The sound and the sea, the past and the present. They became one.

Credits

Live visuals by Blake Carrington

Press

L’Officiel Voyage #24
“Le Syndrome d’Ulysse”
by Guillaume Fedou

MEDEA

Recordings from the Black Sea, 2011

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

MuCEM, Marseille October 19, 2013
Lille Fantastic, Lille October 7-14 2012
Centre Pompidou, Paris May 4, 2012
PS1 Art On Air, NYC August 8, 2011

Synopsis

The Black Sea is the antithesis of the Mediterranean. It is dark in colour, but its darkness extends deeply beyond the visual. It is darkness with such depth that it can be felt, it insists on being felt, at times almost too intensely. This darkness, is what guided us through Medea. In ways, it is Medea.
Following Ulysses Syndrome, it is the second part of the diptych, and as far as our work is concerned, ‘The Dark Side.’

In Medea, we recreated the same dispositive of multiple scanners which we used for Ulysses Syndrome. Following the path of Medea and the Argonauts, we travelled between the coasts of the Black Sea, sailing into the Slavic empire facing the immensity of the Middle East and the darkness of the mountains of the Caucasus. While we used a process similar to Ulysses Syndrome, in Medea, the sound, the feeling, the results, they are all their own.

Medeas vast depth allowed us to sink even further into sounds; to truly inhabit all the different tones and waves collected from our time in the Black Sea. Similar to Ulysses Syndrome, we created a sample library dedicated to each region. As to be imagined, each separate region has life, a past life and a resulting sound all of its own. What connects them is the darkness that is the Black Sea. This darkness, so controlling that it seemed to almost forcefully extend itself to the rugged and unforgiving landscape surrounding it. There is something about how landscape shapes human memory, and how the physicality of landscape creates an undertone, a background noise with a defined, although complex, character.
The outcome transferred itself into the recordings. The results of this exhaustive process can be heard in a significantly slower tempo, working with low frequencies and atonal harmonies and Eastern scales.

Medea, in its final state, is the musical culmination of the volatile and introspective exchange we shared with the Black Sea. Times of exhaustion which gradually lead to elation, daunting moments of confusion, which, with patience, resulted in heightened clarity. The demanding and ineffable darkness which is the Black Sea, once we succumbed to it, it lead us to this, to Medea.

Artbook published by Dis Voir

Audio Preview

Credits

Film by Vincent Moon

Press

Mouvement Magazine
“La Poesie du Chaos”
by Laurent Catala

Tsugi
“PÊCHEURS DE SONS, PIRATES DES ONDES”
by jean-Yves Leloup

Remue
“Medea”

New York Times T-Magazine
“High Seas Fidelity”
by Emma Reeves

Les Inrockuptibles
“Soundwalk : l’électro sur les traces de Médée”
by Géraldine Sarratia

THE ENCOUNTER

Recordings from the Schwarzwald, 2011

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

Deutschlandradio Kultur July 18, 2014
PS1 Art On Air, NYC May 6, 2013
Radio France Culture July 7, 2011

Synopsis

A radio essay by Jean-Luc Nancy

In collaboration with Virginie Luc & Stephan Crasneanscki
Coproduction Soundwalk
Realization France Culture Gilles Mardirossian
A program proposed by Frank Smith and Philippe Langlois

Paul Celan visited Heidegger in 1967, in Todtnauberg, where the philosopher worked, in the Black Forest. The poem written from this meeting and which actually has the name of Todtnauberg, was interpreted in a lot of manners: Celan noted a deception, or something else? What did he want, he, the Jewish German, from the one who clearly would have to denounce the Nazi enterprise but from whom the text about poetry was a major reference for Celan? Jean Luc Nancy thought about this meeting. He’s not looking for conclusions. He leaves his mind free to think, free to answer, free to be lost maybe. It is not only a speech but also a voice of restless resonance.

EMPTY QUARTER

Recordings from the Rub' Al Khali desert, 2010

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

PS1 Art On Air, NYC January 21, 2013
Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi November 4-5-6, 2010

Synopsis

For 45-days we travelled through a mostly uninhabited desert known to the Bedouins as Rub’ Al Khali. The ‘Empty Quarter’ its literal translation, stretches from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf, extending over 4 nations. It is the largest continual desert in the world acting as a crossroads of Middle Eastern civilization. It has been said that this is where Islam was born.

Removed from modernity, scanner radio, the same used in Medea and Ulysses Syndrome, is the only functioning device for communication.
From Bedouins voyaging through the desert to oil miners or sailers of cargo ships, all of those in or around Rub al Khali who need to communiccate, depend on it. These scanners retrieving each sound and voice result in the creation of an unintentional shared sound space, a collective. Whether the voice is seeking exact coordinates or sending the call to prayer, this sound space is used by all, for all.
In a desert this vast, it is easy to lose sense of yourself, of time and of space. These voices which normally would be ignored are now crucial, as they are sometimes the only connection to others. These various intercepted voices, echo life in moments when one might feel quite removed from it. The voices become a of sound of sanity.
Following nomadic traditions, we allowed the movements of the sand and wind to act as our guide. When the landscape is contantly changing and everything is beyond your control, you must allow yourself to be guided. By the sand and winds, by their sound. Like the landscape, the sounds of the desert, were infinite, knowing no boundaries. To interpret this almost eternal emptiness we used a reductive approach, scanning and recording the hertzian frequencies which stretch across the dunes. In the final composition, through filtering and extreme equalization, we created distant and faint textures. This allowed each element to slowly reveal itself, the way they were slowly revealed to us in the desert. The continuum of sound created by the winds constant interaction with the sand combined with the intercepted voices and their stories, this our interpretation and recreation of the immensity of the deserts size and history, ‘The Empty Quarter.’

Credits

Film by Stephan Crasneanscki
Editing and Special FX by Jim Helton

Press

Art On Air

BESSARABIA

Recordings from Bessarabia, 2010

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

MAHJ Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme de Paris October 5, 2013
Gaité Live, Paris August 29, 2013

Synopsis

The the atrocities held in the history of Bessarabia, a former region of Eastern Europe, are not known to many. Instead they were forced to be forgotten and almost permanently erased.
Only recently, after inquiry from living relatives and aging locals fearing the truth they witnessed might be lost forever, have the disparaging details emerged. The details, unimaginable.
This grave atrocity, now referred to as ‘Shoah by Bullet’, is what many wish didn’t have a name. Not just a name, but now a sound. A sound of resurrection, resonance and permanence. A sound of survival offering an eternal existence.

In collaboration with Centropa Foundation we were given access to taped recordings of surviving Jews. Recorded in 1959, these tapes ended up improperly stored, in the basement of the Jewish Federation in Kiev. For the past 60 years, these voices have been trapped in a space suffering the unforgiving consequences of time and elements.

The damage incurred still can be heard, n the faintness of the morphed voices forcing themselves through to various glitches. These imperfections act as an audible reflection of the damaging history.
While, now all that remains on the tapes are just a few fragmented voices, together these fragments become a collective voice. That collective voice, one of Jewish Survival. In order to feel and to understand the stories and the voices, we returned to where they were first silenced.
We traveled through the 27 villages and towns. Kishinev in Moldova, Tiraspol in Transnistria, along the Black Sea, and Carpathian Mountains; To the sites where mobile execution units were erected for mass shootings and to the mass graves Jews were forced to dig themselves before being buried alive. Wherever the gravest atrocities occurred, the places history doesn’t want you to go. This is where we went and recorded.

What remains visually in Bessarabia, is a forged sense of normalcy, a sort of almost forced forgetting. Someone could easy mistake it for idyllic, grass has grown over the graves, the sun still shines. There are no gravestones, nothing marking the dead past. Life continues as though that is all it has ever done.
Below the graves, though, are the remnants of those executed. These remnants, you can feel and hear. These remnants are what we recorded.

All of the location recordings were made at night. Vision, gives a false illusion of life and light. There was no light. Just darkness and this is the darkness that echoes the permanent emptiness of this lost, and almost forgotten world.

Through micro processing we enhanced the surface noise of the tapes revealing a physicality enhancing the disintegration of the tapes. This combined with the physical regression of the sounds recorded, resulted in what can only be described as a haunting harmony. This created a meditative and hypnotic reflection of the indifference of nature towards humans potential for evil.

In order to prevent itself from repeating, history needs a memory. Bessarabia almost deleted that memory, twice. Now we have tried to resurrect it. The voices that were almost lost forever, we now will resonate and repeat in a format that can be replayed forever.
Those of us that survive or only simply remain, those of us with knowledge of histories and all of us with voices, we have a responsibility.
For each individual, for humanity and for our collective survival;
We must allow every voice to be heard and Never Forget.

Credits

Film by Stephan Crasneanscki
Editing, Special FX and Live Visuals by Blake Carrington

DEATH MUST DIE

Recordings from Varanasi India 2004 - 2009

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

PS1 Art On Air, NYC March 4, 2013
Broome Street Temple, NYC March 1, 2011

Synopsis

Death Must Die is a sound piece that begins before the rising of the sun and reproduces the cycle of a day in Varanasi… Benares, Kashi; a sacred city, where death is everywhere, bathed in light. It is here that Hindus come to die and burn their dead. It is here, on the river’s edges, that the wrath and the grace of Shiva are expressed.

The sound intoxicating as death itself, it is a hammering song of the dead, playing until one is transfixed. It’s the murmuring of the Ganges… the power of silence.

The live performance revisits the cycles between life and death, using sound as a metaphor: the laughter of children playing, dogs barking – it contrasts the extreme accumulation of bells, the infernal trance of religious songs, the peculiar sound of bodies burning upon wood… the voice of a young nun coming from an ashram in the silence of the night.

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Credits

Film by Christopher Bren

LA BRÛLURE

Recordings from the Mediterranean coasts, Summers 2002-2009

Credits

Photo by Stephan Crasneanscki

Performances

Synopsis

In a solitary trek along the Mediterranean coasts from Spain to Greece, along the south of France, through Italy, Montenegro and Albania… Stephan Crasneanscki of Soundwalk Collective records the sulphurous fury of summer. It all begins with sound.
It is that of a cricket in the heart of Summer, which, in the intoxication of a love song, perishes, sucked dry, burnt by the rays of the sun.
It is the memory of childhood under the sky of vacation, always denser and more blue. The memories of adolescence which burn our skin. Bodily desire, sensual pleasure, betrayal.

The encounters of one night, of one day, the fever of a summer without sleeping. When the spirit is consumed and the passion does not rest.
The trance of cicadas, the music and the songs collected in villages, which like ripples of heat in the air rise to the surface.

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KILL THE EGO

Recordings of New York City 1998-2008

Credits

Painting by Ro Starr

Performances

KAFFNY, NYC November 14-16, 2014
PS1 Art On Air, NYC February 11, 2013
Centre Pompidou, Paris February 26, 2010
Fountain Art Fair, NYC 2009

Synopsis

Kill the Ego is an epic 40-minute-long poem composed of 10 years of sound recordings made in New York between 1998 and 2008. The fragmented memories of poets and dominatrixes, of pimps and prophets, of visionaries and lost children – the gamut of stories from the street: of the most obscure corners, of underground unrest, intimate and universal biographies of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx – Soundwalk has captured and woven together the sounds, conversations, and songs of urbanity. In February 2008 Romon Yang, otherwise known as Rostarr, was listening to that song intently, memorizing it, envisioning it. He and Soundwalk had been brought together by French producer Eric Dalbin to make a movie for a March 4th film festival deadline. Directors Jim Helton and Ron Patane were then commissioned along with line producer Joie Reinstein Lefebvre to make a movie of Rostarr’s vision of Soundwalk’s sound. Inspired by the process oriented masterpiece “The Mystery of Picasso” by Henri-Georges Clouzot and the work of experimental filmmakers Stan Brakhage and Phil Solomon, the filmmaking process began almost at once. Rostarr worked like a madman for two weeks, producing all the work for the first installment of Kill the Ego in an amazing and remarkably physical burst of creativity. The filmmakers documented the work and tried to find ways to make the process come alive through the shooting and later through an equally furious editorial process. Rostarr’s physical presence as an artist is truly cinematic, he is like a martial artist of paint and ink as the utmost control and daring experimentation is combined with a reckless abandon and fluid grace. Each twist and turn of the sound design is reflected in Rostarr’s evolving process as canvases are painted over, stories are told and erased, transforming from representations to abstract emotional reactions. Throughout the shooting and editorial process the soundtrack played over and over, the sound merging with the paint in Rostarr’s studio and later with the image as the two elements became merged into what is now known as Kill the Ego.

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Credits

Film excerpt by ROSTARR

Press

Art Review
“Fountain Art Fair Review”
by Nikki Schiro