EQ — a sound instal­la­ti­on by Andre­as Stef­fens and Dani­el M. Ziegler

From 05.03.–20.03.2022, a sound instal­la­ti­on with com­po­si­ti­ons by Andre­as Stef­fens and Dani­el M. Zieg­ler could be expe­ri­en­ced on the first flo­or of the ArToll Klang­la­bor, Bedburg-Hau. The two jazz musi­ci­ans, com­po­sers and per­for­mers have been working on the musi­cal fusi­on of elec­tro­nic and impro­vi­sed music sin­ce 2016.

They have been explo­ring the music of Karl­heinz Stock­hausen, Edgar Varè­se, Mor­ton Feld­mann, John Cage and Cur­tis Roads for years. They use the aes­the­tics of elec­tro­nic-clas­si­cal music and trans­fer them to the impro­vi­sa­tio­nal style of jazz. The two musi­ci­ans play saxo­pho­ne, pia­no, gui­tar and a varie­ty of his­to­ri­cal and modern elec­tro­nic instruments. 

For the instal­la­ti­on “EQ” they com­po­sed new pie­ces and recor­ded them in the stu­dio them­sel­ves, using acou­stic instru­ments, fil­ters, effects and modu­lar syn­the­si­zers, among other things. The music was not per­for­med in a con­cert, but made acces­si­ble to the audi­ence in a sound instal­la­ti­on in the ArToll sound labo­ra­to­ry in Bedburg-Hau. 

In all rooms of the ground flo­or dif­fe­rent sound sources were instal­led to emit sounds into the room. The­se were trig­ge­red by the visi­tors. Due to their dif­fe­rent lengths, the­re were always new over­lays. Light sen­sors were instal­led at various points in the rooms. When a visi­tor step­ped into the light bar­ri­er, they trig­ge­red the play­back of a com­po­si­ti­on by Stef­fens and Zieg­ler. The places whe­re the­se sen­sors were loca­ted were arran­ged like in a gallery.

In pic­tu­re frames the­re were accom­pany­ing texts to the respec­ti­ve sounds, as a clas­si­fi­ca­ti­on in the musi­cal con­text or also as a lyri­cal or other­wi­se inspi­ring text. Attrac­ted by the respec­ti­ve muse­um installation/picture frame, the visi­tor trig­ge­red the sound, which was then always play­ed once in full length, even if he/she moved on direct­ly. The visi­tors thus hel­ped to deter­mi­ne the “per­for­mance” and the den­si­ty of the resul­ting spa­ti­al sound. It was also pos­si­ble to move in a straight line from one sound source of the con­ti­nuous sound to the other wit­hout trig­ge­ring a sensor.

The com­po­si­ti­ons varied in dyna­mics and length: the­re were pie­ces that las­ted a few seconds and others that were seve­ral minu­tes long. They ran­ged from a bare­ly audi­ble crack­le to an orgi­a­stic and com­plex sound sur­ge. The­re were “gra­nu­lar” com­po­si­ti­ons in which the smal­lest ele­ments ran­ked at the per­cep­tu­al limit of short impul­ses. Dif­fe­rent tem­pos gave rise to poly­rhyth­ms, and dif­fe­rent pit­ches crea­ted polytonality.