Welcome to the Ice-Box

was commissioned by Danish Broadcasting Corporation and SOUND/GALLERY, Copenhagen (25 loudspeakers permanently installed in Copenhagen's main town square).

It was the grand-prize winner in SOUND/GALLERY-DR's world-wide Competition In Sound II—A Sound Scan of the 20th Century.

The gallery premiere was on September 14, 1997, and the national radio premiere was on September 18, 1997.
The piece was produced in the studios of Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

Welcome To The Ice-Box abstracts, interrogates and re-contextualizes sound bites that are familiar and may arouse intense associations, and attempts to uncover great sonic and tonal beauty in them. As purely musical values are by nature abstract, the sounds thus abstracted lose their original associations and so the listener must hear them anew.

Listen to an excerpt below: "They call him..."

"They call him..." is structured as a passacaglia or set of variations of increasing density. All the rhythmic and tonal material is derived from analysis of a snippet of Adolf Hitler’s 1939 declaration of war at the Reichstag.

The piece is a collision of three temporal frames of reference:

1 PATTERN: the exact rhythmic placement of the 29 syllables of Hitler’s 7.2 second speech as he spoke it, revealed finally near the end. The speech was analyzed syllable by syllable down to 1/44,100 of a second and therefore the precise rhythmic content would be impossible to convey in normal Western notation. (Each syllable was then processed by convolution with white noise and finally all were recombined in their original relationships, to be woven into the arrangement of the piece.)

2 TEMPO: the 11-beat shuffle groove (91.57 BPM)--also 7.2 seconds, to synchronize with Hitler--and corresponding subdivisions of eighth, triplet, sixteenth, etc.

3 ACCELERANDO: the 4/4 Nixon/Oswald vocal line, always changing by means of time-expansion and compression, thus always in new relationship with the 7.2 sec grid.

"They call him..." is framed by an introduction and coda based on familiar samples; iconic and recognizable, these are images which, in the words of the artist David Salle, "understand us."

The Texts:

Lee Harvey Oswald: "Awwww.....!"

Ike Pappas, ABC News: "Oswald has been shot."

Richard Nixon: "Well, I'm not a crook."

Adolf Hitler: "Meine Friedensliebe und meine endlose Langmut soll man nicht mit Schwäche oder gar mit Feigheit verwechseln!"
"Do not mistake my peace-loving and my endless patience for weakness or even cowardice."

To hear "They call him..." from Welcome to the Ice-Box, download the MP3 version. VIsit mp3.com to find out more about MP3.

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