During the Day Of Sound, organized by ICEM at the Folkwang University of the Arts, several exellent pieces of electronic and electroacoustic music were performed. Closing the program was Elisabeth Schimana’s Hell Machine, a piece composed for the Max Brand Synthesizer and performed by Manon Liu Winter and Gregor Ladenhau. This furniture-sized instrument was recently salvaged and put to into use again by the Institute for Media Archaeology. Originally designed in the sixties by Boob Moog for the austrian composer Max Brand, it spent most of it’s life in a studio. Admiration is due for the great effort of restoring it and taking it to the stage. But Elisabeth Schimana went further, creating with it a unique piece of music that brings together decades of electronic and experimental practices. A visual augmentation was provided by three webcams zooming in on the controls and keyboards, magnifying on screen the gestures of the operators. While the sound filled the hall, stretching across the opposite ends of the dynamic range, gradually but constantly shifting tones fluxed into beats, turning the audience into a mass of quivering matter, until the two pilots attempted a desperate clime towards a major-chord cadenza. Missing the heavens they came down crashing like an ultrasonic tupolev jet with a sustained glissando into a jungle of voltage controlled havoc.
A binaural recording of the second part of the performance is here (headphones with the volume way up are recommended):