the gates of H.

Programme Note

the gates of h. "The Gates of H." is generated out of a 120 second sample containing a folk song sung by a female choir. Algorithmical structures are applied to the sound by changing pitch and time-position to portions of the source sample so that a granular synthesis structure is generated. The idea of modifying a sound image in this way is to apply a new structure to an already existing image and place it like a mask above the sound, while this mask is in time and pitch instead of space and colour.

The result is a sound which exposes either the algorithmical structure while the sound image becomes unrecognizable or the sound image when the duration of the grains is long enough and the pitch is not extremely modified. I was especially interested into the transient states of the grain, where dependant of the length of the sounds timbre or voices become audible: The listener seem to hear events which create an association to a human voice but it does not really sound like a voice. This keeps the perceptive process of the listener toggling between the context and the content of the sound grains.

The tension between the source sample and the algorithms gives a lyrical or a dramatical effect to the resulting sound while the recognizable voice images seem to create surrealistic scenes with strong associative power. Since I passed the Rodin Sculpture la porte de l' enfer "the gates of hell" nearly every day on my way to the studio in Stanford a connection between the bronze plastic and my piece was unconsciously drawn.

The sound processing techniques are restricted to sampling rate conversion and pointer operations. The piece was created exclusively digitally on the NeXT-Net of the CCRMA using Bill Schottstaedt's "Common Lisp Music" synthesis language, Rick Taube's "Common Music" score/composition language and Paul Lanski's "RT" mixing program. It won the "Prix Ars Electronica" 1994. The piece was made possible by a scholarship of the DAAD by the German Government.