Raum für Notizen


Bass oboe
Pre-recorded tape

Additional Information

More information at: https://www.ottohashmi.com/raum-fuer-notizen

Raum für Notizen is a multi-sensory, collaborative music work by London composer and recorder player Otto Hashmi, written as a response to the project of the same name by Berlin artist Karoe Goldt. Written for the space of the Wachturm Schlesischer Busch, an ex-GDR watchtower sitting on the site of the former Berlin wall, it was premiered as the culminating event of Goldt’s 6-week artist residency there with The Watch Berlin on Friday 15th July 2022.

The work explores the concept of regaining trust, both between the former East and West Germanies – where social and economic disparities are still visible more than 30 years since reunification – and the role that trust plays within our daily lives and in our technology driven, post-modern society. The tower becomes an immersive space filled with notes submitted by the audience, from which the music is born as a dialogue with these titular notes, actively blurring the boundaries between the performer, composer, and audience. Audience members are invited to move between rooms in the tower and hear the performance from different perspectives and with elements digitally altered and re-prioritised. On the top floor, where guards would have only decades ago been on alert for potential defectors, listeners can observe the live, unaffected recorder performance – an arrangement that intentionally creates a power imbalance across the building.

The structure of the work is intrinsic with the layout of the building itself. The first movement ‘Raum’ is for the ground floor main space. The second movement ‘Zelle’ is for the holding cells on the ground floor. The third movement ‘Zwischen’ is for the first floor, which sits as a sort of purgatory with hints of natural light eminating from above, and artificial light coming up from the ground floor below. The final movement ‘Himmel’ is written for the second and top floor, which feels open due to the abundance of natural light.

Raum fuer Notizen makes heavy use of digital audio enhancements to work with the vertical space of its performance venue. Upon entry on the ground floor, the sound is pitch-shifted down by an octave, with bass giving a grounding to the sound being at the literal base of the building.

In the cell, one finds the performance is heavily affected at points by rich, crushing distortion and saturation, creating an overwhelmingly immersive harsh noise wall that envelopes the listener. If or when this wall of sound becomes too intense, the listener only has to remove headphones to be regrounded in the lighter bass heavy tone of the Raum. At other points, such as in the second movement, ring modulation and pitch shifting is used to create a sound-world that feels jarring and alien to the listener. In the Zwischen (first floor) sound is more heavily affected with reverbs enhancing certain resonant frequencies and creating new detail from these. Finally in Himmel (second floor) there is no digital alteration or amplification, one simply hears the sound as is from the Recorder.




DDR Wachturm, Schlesischer Busch, Berlin Alt-Treptow



Date recorded
Raum für Notizen (DDR Wachturm Schlesischer Busch, Berlin - 15/7/2022)