TO:103 – Carl Michael von Hausswolff ‘Still Life – Requiem’

Vinyl LP – 2 tracks – 44:24
Limited edition of 500

Track listing:

1. Still Life – Requiem l
2. Still Life – Requiem ll

Written & recorded by Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft & Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Mastered by Jason at Transition

Conceptualised (2010–2013), composed and produced (2014–2017) by Carl Michael von Hausswolff in Palma (Majorca) and Stockholm. This musical piece consists only of sounds emitted and extracted from physical matter using emission spectroscopy as the sole basic technology. Acknowledgements to Linköping University (IFM), Sweden.

‘Still Life – Requiem’ consists of one piece with the same title and is divided up into two to fit the LP format. The piece is, as the title suggests, a requiem and it’s contents are solely composed by sounds captured from a specific, physical solid state material. The composer has used a technique called ’emission spectroscopy’ whereby the frequencies generated from the material was analysed and transferred into, for humans, a listenable pitch (between 15 and 14000Hz). This captured organic sound material has been stretched, looped, equalised and composed to produce the recording.

A requiem is a piece of music dedicated to certain sole or several restless souls that wander our worlds looking for a place to call home. A requiem radiates calm, peace and perhaps comfort for tormented spiritual beings – it’s a piece dedicated to promote and insert tranquility and transcendence.

This requiem also provides the listener with a certain feeling of connection – perhaps a connection with the unknown and with the energy field clusters and mental abilities of post-mortem life forms that would be the incorporeal essence of a living being.

CMvH (born 1956 in Linköping, Sweden) has a long history within the communities of contemporary music and visual art. His first records was released in early 80s while the most recent saw the light just a few years ago (‘Squared’ [CD – Auf Abwegen, 2015]). In recent years he has been collaborating with Leslie Winer (‘1’ [LP – Monotype 2016]) and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (‘Nordlicht’ [LP – Curious Music, 2017]).

He has also instigated and curated the collective sound-installation ‘freq_out’ during 2003 – 2017, which includes artists such as Jana Winderen, JG Thirlwell, Finnbogi Petursson, Christine Ödlund and others.



Chain D.L.K.:

Solely using data from emission spectroscopy on physical objects, pitch-shifted into human hearing range, ‘Still Life – Requiem’ is one single thirty-one minute piece that’s been divided into two purely because of the limitations of the vinyl target format.

The result is a slowly undulating and very gently glitchy analogue hum and drone that feels like it owes as much to the variations in the electric innards of the recording equipment or the power supply than to the objects being analysed, though I’m sure scientifically this may be unfair. The most intriguing thing about this is how there are some higher-pitched elements that seem to have very short patterns that border on melody.

There’s a lot of ebb and flow here – louder, more harsh-edged parts at times, barely audible near–flat waveforms at others, (including near the beginning of the first part, where you begin to wonder whether you’ve accidentally paused the playback as you haven’t heard anything for a while).

Putting aside the science, it’s a very well-formed and interestingly textured undulating drone piece that’s really rather relaxing. The purity of the concept is to its credit and it’s a very enjoyable listen that becomes quite mesmeric when it has your attention.

ArtNoir (Germany):

Hört mal, ich spür etwas. Was früher in leicht anders formulierter Version in Kultfilmen für Lacher sorgte, das gilt auch heute noch für experimentelle Klangkunst. Der Schwedische Künstler und Musiktüftler Carl Michael von Hausswolff beweist dies im Extrem auf seinem neusten Album ‘Still Life – Requiem’ – ein Werk, dass vom Hörer körperlich und psychisch alles verlangt. Dabei ist die Tonwelt in diesen zwei langen Stücken mehr als zurückhaltend, versinkt sogar oft neben die Bereiche des Gewohnten und Hörbaren.

Aber genau dieses Experiment der Wahrnehmung hat Carl Michael von Hausswolff (dessen Tochter Anna von Hausswolff einigen von euch eher ein Begriff ist) mit dieser neuen Platte auch bezweckt. Die Grundsteine, welche für die lange Komposition ‘Still LifeRequiem’ gelegt wurden, basieren auf hörbar gemachten und veränderten Aufnahmen von konstanten Schwingungen fester Materialen. Das liest sich nicht nur abstrakt, es hört sich auch so an. Wie der verzettelter Drone eines Bienenschwarms in Verbindung mit verlorenen Geigenspielern, steigern sich schier unhörbare Frequenzen zu einem Muster.

Still Life – Requiem‘ ist keine einfache Platte, es ist ein Album, das man mit extremer Hingebung anhören muss und keine Angst vor kleinen Lautstärken haben darf. Denn Carl Michael von Hausswolff hat sich bei seinen Feldaufnahmen nicht beirren lassen und viele Stellen von dieser Komposition im Unmöglichen gelassen. Somit muss man wie ein Forscher in die Klüfte hinuntersteigen und Schicht um Schicht zwischen Umgebungsrauschen und Tinnitus freigelegen – kommt dabei aber einer Erlösung näher als sonst jemals. [Michael Bohli]

Loop (Spain):

Swedish composer and sound artist Carl Michael Von Hausswolff since the late 70s has been working on his sonic compositions using the tape recorder as one of his main instruments. As a conceptual visual artist he has been involved in performances art, light and sound through sound installations and photography.
This musician who works in Stockholm is well-known in the experimental scene and since 1980 he holds a threesome of solo releases and in collaboration with artists such as Hans-Joachim Roedelius, John Duncan, Leslie Winer, among others.
Still Life – Requiem‘ consists of a piece with the same title and is divided in two to fit the LP format.
This piece of music consists solely of sounds emitted and extracted from physical matter using emission spectroscopy as the only basic technology.
The composer has used a technique called ’emission spectroscopy’ so the frequencies generated from the material, were analysed and transferred for human listening.
This material was processed and composed to deliver two pieces of imperceptible and certainly enigmatic and dark sounds. With several layers of noise and intermittent signals and a drone that it holds in the background. [Guillermo Escudero]

Ondarock (Italy):

Gli oggetti hanno una loro vita e un loro linguaggio, per quanto inevidenti e misteriosi: non si tratta soltanto della nostra tendenza a umanizzare e attribuire le nostre facoltà percettive alla materia inanimata, ma di un vero e proprio potenziale energetico insito in tutte le cose. Sondare la natura sonorum al limite o al di sotto della nostra soglia uditiva è un ambito di ricerca pluridecennale che si intreccia con l’estetica lowercase, grammatica non-musicale in caratteri minuscoli.

Il concept del recente progetto del decano Carl Michael von Hausswolff si basa su un rigoroso approccio scientifico: attraverso il solo utilizzo di emissioni spettroscopiche, tecnologia messa a disposizione dall’Università di Linköping, il compositore svedese ha catturato le frequenze risultanti dal contatto con la materia e le ha trasposte a un’altezza percepibile. In seguito questi microsuoni sono stati manipolati con effetti di looping, estensioni e interventi di equalizzazione.

In piena regola si può dunque parlare di still life (non equivalente a ‘natura morta’) come titola la suite divisa sui due lati di Lp: al pari di un processo alchemico apparentemente impossibile, lo stato solido e tangibile diviene un flusso di onde sonore che ne attesta l’esistenza oltre la vista e il tatto. Il secondo titolo ‘Requiem’ è un’ulteriore suggestione atta a “irradiare tranquillità, pace e forse conforto per esseri spirituali tormentati”, entità che all’apparenza non abitano più le nostre prossimità ma che ancora si manifestano attraverso tracce minime, segnali che in pochi sanno captare e mettere in luce.

Ricollegandosi alle radicali indagini elettroacustiche di Bernhard Günter e al drone microtonale di Phill Niblock, ma con un approccio affine alla dark-ambient isolazionista, CM von Hausswolff contribuisce alla longeva serie Touch Tone con un’opera ermetica e subliminale dove forme essenziali affiorano brevemente dalla muta oscurità cui appartengono, riaffermando con voce flebile la loro esistenza più profonda e inosservata, un barlume invisibile che avvicina l’idea di un’anima universale della materia.

Touching Extremes (Italy):

It took me a good while before deciding to write about Carl Michael Von Hausswolff’s most recent investigation of the ‘beyond beyond’. Instances occur where the unembellished elucidation of a procedure denotes such a level of prescient acuity that a supplement of narrative risks to destroy both the integrity and the logical undermeaning of the outcome.

After the effective starkness of the composer’s lines (‘a connection with the unknown and with the energy field clusters and mental abilities of post-mortem life forms that would be the incorporeal essence of a living being’) it is impossible not to recall the ‘heavenly epic’ theories of numerous incoherent ‘scientists’, and silently chuckle.

The inability of recognising the reshaping of matter as the exclusive symbol of continuity inside an infinitude which remains unnerving for less than pragmatic specimens lies at the basis of today’s global cerebral wreck. Every body – including the apparently inanimate – is defined by a degree of intrinsic vibration. The combination of those frequencies is essential for providing elements of actual development; in this sense, adjectives like ‘inharmonious’ or ‘strident’ should not even exist.

Only the limitations of the individual brain/ear apparatus keep sticking quality labels and rules of acceptance on a collective counterpoint of unique existences. On that account, no one can afford to trumpet a correspondence with theoretical ‘superior entities’ designing a nonsensical flawlessness. There are none, until proven differently and the ‘proofs’ coming from sheer trust (or, more incisively, human delirium) are not acceptable.

An elementary truth inevitably hurts a dysfunctional mind. Isn’t it much better to rely on celestial bullshit? How to proceed otherwise in the daily struggle against the acknowledgement of one’s fundamental uselessness in the nominal ‘great scheme of things’?

In terms of mere ‘musical’ content, ‘Still Life – Requiem‘ stands up there with the finest work by the Swedish scanner. In just over half an hour we’re treated with chorales of reverberant quintessences and barely measurable signals from the innards of the audio spectrum, in accordance with Von Hausswolff’s interest in the abnormal ranges of audibility. The album begins and ends with the same sound; a genuine loop symbolising the stochastic cyclicity of transformation within the continuum of a merciless rationality.

All of the above is probably too hard to fathom for people in search of answers they’re never going to get. Von Hausswolff’s connoisseurs – plus listeners interested in John Duncan, Asmus Tietchens and the likes – need no further prattle but two words: compulsory listening. [Massimo Ricci]