Vertical Acousmonium
KMH’s entrance foyer is four stories high and features three balconies which extend nearly the entire length of the building.

The Vertical Acousmonium is comprised of twenty-four loudspeakers with eight speakers distributed on each level plus at least two sub-woofers.

Works for the Vertical Acousmonium are played continuously throughout the day.

Ludger Brümmer: Gesualdo (adapted for Vertical Acousmonium) (2004) 19”42’

Carlo Gesualdo's "Canzon francese" (MS Add. 30491) serves as the starting point for a dramaturgy of virtual sounds in the work for tape "Gesualdo", in which the processing processes carried out with the computer lay themselves over the object itself like a patina, destroying it and reassembling it. The work is comparable to the work of a painter who, starting from a photographic sketch, begins his process of abstraction by reinterpreting and deforming elements of the object and continues to paint over the original object. It is unpredictable what kind of power the work develops over time. The tonal elements at the beginning form rhythmic modules that lead to repetitive phrases. The form of the work leads to a climax after a long prelude. It is a hypnotic process that creates an aura, as does Gesualdo’s composition.

Ludger Brümmer

Ludger Brümmer: Carlo (adapted for Vertical Acousmonium) (2004) 22”00’

The work "Carlo" is based on the examination of the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo and represents the attempt to combine two completely different principles of composing music: on the one hand, the sound movement contained in the madrigal with a tonal or chromatic-harmonic form related to the vocal abilities and, on the other hand, contemporary structural ideas which are shaped by the technique of serial music and mathematical concepts of order. The latter arise from the attempt to discover new principles of form and to generate a contemporary structural movement with high complexity but easy accessibility.
The idea of using a Renaissance madrigal as a substantial moment for a contemporary composition seems to be the result of a postmodern thought. However, a distinction must be made between a postmodern citation technique and the heterogeneous integration of foreign material into a new context. In the composition "Carlo", this combination of heterogeneous elements is intensified into a question of existence: the new is constructed from the old. The old building becomes a quarry, or it is changed, extended, torn down and destroyed, as has always happened in architecture. But this work is also about attempting to answer the painful question of why this new should emerge at all.

Produced by ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics and Musicological Institute of the University of Cologne

Gianluca Verlingieri: Fontana reMix (2006-2009)
for multichannel tape

Premiered at Mexico City’s Musica y Escena Festival in 2006, Verlingieri’s Fontana reMix multichannel tape has been revised in 2008-9 for a for Wave Field Synthesis projection on 189 loudspeakers at the Casa del Suono in Parma, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cage’s original Fontana Mix tape. Verlingieri’s work has then been performed worldwide in several speakers configurations, both as tape alone or simultaneously with a live performance of Cage’s Aria by the American bass-baritone Nicholas Isherwood, also issued on CD by the Swedish label BIS-Records.

The idea of reMix is not related to any elaboration of Cage’s original tapes, but rather lies in the attempt to metaphorically “mix-up” two aspects: first, a  composition process fully adherent to the set of tools and rules provided by Cage himself with the 1960 Peters score, and, second, the effort to go beyond the first process, giving back to the composer some decision-making responsibilities, mainly in terms of macro-form structure and kind and density of events, but also with regard to the categories of the sonic materials or the techniques to process them. The resultant kaleidoscope is, once again, a (re)mix between the acoustic properties of sound objects and their cultural meanings in the present society. This version has been appositely conceived for the 24.2 loudspeaker setup of the KMH Vertical Acousmonium at the Between2019 EASTN-DC Festival.

Marco Barberis: Q-Verch (2015) 5’ 30”

Marco Barberis’ fixed media piece Q-verchbring the listeners in an imaginary soundscape in which both sonic gestures and their perception play on the ambiguous border between natural sounds (e.g. water drops in a cave) and cultural sounds (e.g. ordinary and stringboard piano sounds), and their hybridations.