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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Urban Drone MP3 by Totstellen

The drone in the background of a sample excerpt from Totstellen‘s recent Tunnel Brücke CDR has a sonar quality and the sublimated buzz of distant industrial activity (MP3). In fact it’s an augmented field recording, taped in a tunnel below traffic. The tunnel reverberations reveal a sound many times removed from its source — first by distance, then concrete and other construction materials, then recording equipment and its attendant compression algorithms, then whatever processing Totstellen chose to employ (including the addition of one quiet phrase in German — which for someone, like me, who only speaks English, supplies yet another sense of remoteness), then further compression to the MP3 format. Each step away from the source serves as a kind of cultural, procedural sediment: a thicker, deeper tunnel from which the sounds struggle to emerge. The album is a co-release by the labels Reduktive Musiken (reduktivemusiken.de) and Totes Format.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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