Aiear cover

Marc BehrensAiear

Crónica 218

Release: 21 May 2024

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  1. Aiear

Airplane noise interrupted my early outdoor sound recording attempts in the forests around Frankfurt. And so, after a while, I figured I would kick the pastoral, turn the concept upside down, and specifically record the airplane noise instead.

Aiear was planned as a field recording project since 1996. In 2023 I resumed the project and composed the piece as a preamble to the Clould cycle. Aiear and the five movements of Clould together consist of 95 minutes of electroacoustic music, five microstories, the libretto for its fifth movement, a number of aerial photographs and text charts, and a performance concept including the first three movements. The title Clould convolutes the words “cloud”, hinting at humankind’s fascination of supposed supernatural cloud beings, and “could”, a potentiality. Historical mythologies about supernatural beings that supposedly lived in clouds or created them are placed in the context of 21st century airborne mass transport. Such air travel propels large groups of human beings — passive by force — through a space that once belonged to mythological beings and energies. And to the clouds, of course. The title Aiear is a convolution of the words “air” and “ear”.

While I composed Clould with sounds from inside airports and airplanes in flight, including disembodied voice announcements, Aiear is based on the sounds of airplanes just taken off or descending in order to touch down, recorded from the ground. In those phases the jet turbines produce various glissandi, unnerving when looking for quietness, but interesting when carved from the full recorded sound spectrum and used as elements for the composition — dismechanized engine noises, complementary to disembodied voices.

Original recordings made in the flight paths to and from Frankfurt International Airport, Germany, at Mönchbruch and Außerhalb, Mörfelden, in 2003 and 2023, at Scheerwald, Frankfurt a. M., and at Tempelsee, Offenbach a. M., 2023. Human voice models culled from naturalreaders and fromtexttospeech, both dotcom. Composed and produced in 2023 during a fellowship from the German Musikfonds (NEUSTART KULTUR), and premiered March 2023 during Audition 8, a collective listening experience, at Atelier Orbit24, Frankfurt a. M. Cover photograph taken on a flight from SCL to CDG, December 2013. Music, images and text © 2011–2024 Marc Behrens.

Acknowledgements: the Crónica staff, DeDe Handon, Marco Hofmann, Dr. Achim Sibeth, Eva Weingärtner. Love to the two young roe deer and the black Mudi who came by during the morning recording session at Tempelsee in January 2023.

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