Postproduction and Composition
Some words about the postproduction process have already been said. Every night after the recording sessions I sat down at my little table in my attic flat and edited the sounds I just have been recording during the day. I equalized, cut, seperated out and applied some effects such as reverbs and a few times delays. I tried not to exaggerate by using effects. I wanted the recordings to sound as natural as possible which is also the reason why I did not use compression to maintain the richness and dynamics of the recordings. The recordings I’ve done with the hydrophone and the contact mic formed an exception: Some parts of the hydrophone tracks have been pitched down or up or have been modulated by delays and reverbs. The sounds of the stones falling upon the slide that have been captured with the contact mics have been affected by a flanger and a frequency shifter. These sounds were abstract enough so that I could play out my artistic freedom which made the compositional process even more subjective.
I started the composition with the sounding of the airplane, followed by the recordings made around Amager Strand in the east of the island. Against the chronology of my journey I decided to continue with the north, then the west and finally the south.
The composition is devided into six parts:
- East – Amager Strand
- North – Christianshavn
- West – Amagerfaelled
- South – Dragor
- Outro – Amalgam
By organizing the timing and the flow of the stereo version I always tried to imagine what could also work in a diffusion sound athmosphere.
Thursday, June 18th 2015
At the conference in Copenhagen every diffusion sound group had three hours in the sound lab to prepare their presentations for friday. Due to the fact that I already prepared the entire composition in stereo and already knew how to spread the sounds in the multichannel athmosphere this was enough time for me.
These were my thoughts about the installation and the procedure of the piece:
Comparable to the surround sound systems used in domes of planetaries the loudspeakers were organized in a graticule. With this set-up I tried to re-map the sounds and create an acoustic space allowing the spectator to immerse into a sonic map of Amager defined by its varied sites: The airport in the east, the old port in the north, the green fields and parks in the west and the sailboat marinas in the south. In a second step the listener follows subjective survey and travel of the composer who got to know the Island primarily through sonic encounters guided by the unique sounds Amager is offering.
All main parts (E, N, W, S) start on the loudspeaker sections that correspond to their cardinal direction. That means that for instance the part ‘East – Amager Strand’ begins to evolve and diffuse from speakers at the right hand-side. The sounds derive from their particular direction, slowly diffuse in the whole panorama (to create an immersive experience of each cardinal direction) and finally diffuse back to their loudspeaker section. The listeners though should position themselves north facing which depending on the presentation should be communicated either by telling them how to stand or sit inside of the room or by attaching the letters N, W, S, E onto the ground by using tape for instance.
With this procedure the piece is less an installation than a multichannel composition that should be experienced in total to understand how it functions and how Amager is mapped sonically.
- Friday, June 19th 2015 – University of Copenhagen
On friday all the diffusion sound projects were supposed to be presented. Every group used a different setup and some technical changes had to be done before each presentation
For reducing the charge for the lab’s computer (only 4 gb of ram) I decided to play back an interleaved file containing all the seven tracks which I prepared and checked the day before. Unfortunately I forgot to set the track in the DAW – Logic X – as a surround track. That was the reason why in the end the presentation has been a playback of a stereo version through seven loudspeakers. Despite this abortive presentation there has been an interesting discussion and good feedback about the piece afterwards.
- Saturday, July 18th 2015 – University of Applied Science Potsdam
On the denoted weekend the ‘FHP Werkschau’ – a presentation event for all current student projects of all faculties – took place. I had enough time to prepare the sound lab and installed a reworked and adapted version of Mapping Amager. This time I attached tape onto the ground indicating the cardinal directions. I decided against leaving the room open as a running installation but to present the composition to groups of six persons maximum. I always introduced the piece and answered questions afterwards. This was also a very fruitful way of presenting the composition.
Discovering an island like I did during this project was something very special to me. I really enjoyed getting to know Amager primarily through sound encounters. Amager is a very interesting spot: It has lots of landscapes and a rich flora and fauna but also lots of construction works and enormous high buildings dominating the views across the island. This clash is actually perceptible and of course hearable. Everytime I tried to capture only natural sounds some mechanical noises were audible, too… Amager is a very plane area and resonances can be transported broadly by the ubiquitous wind. It is a very noisey Island which was sensible troughout my editing and compositional process. The whole work on the project made me again a bit more cognizant about the every day sounds surrounding us.
Unfortunately I did not have the time to visit the huge area of Kalvebod Fæalled situated in the west / south west as well as the very south of the island. One aspect that is still unbelievable for me is that I even did not have the time to visit Copehagen’s old town. That is one of the reasons why I will have to go back to the danish capital and visit it maybe even as a normal tourist.