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disc two track two - 2:52

Frédéric Kahn - Tous Azimuts

ANALYSIS: spectrogram analysis

spectrogram analysis


A main component of this piece is the editing technique used to seamlessly join juxtaposing sound clusters.

The piece begins with an air release , or some form of pressure ejector: more prominent in the right channel, seen as the first extensive frequency mass. The thick line that is coming out of it, and extends to :40 is a high ringing frequency, which remains static through out this segment. Other static frequencies join in, you can see the addition of three to five more fainter lines around 15 seconds, and there are a few vague thin lines from beginning to end as well, harmonics or formants of the main frequency cluster. Meanwhile, the horizontal lines in this segment represent the actions of a windy, scratchy, steel scraping sound. At :11 there is a manual drum bong, which appears as a little cliff, and similar to the scratchy phenomena. There are also some musical gestures embedded within here, that are not that distinguishable, but cloudy. And finally, children's sounds briefly, and an ambient background cushion.

From :25 to :30, you can see the scratch lines are different for the left and right ear. And at :40, this piece of the collage is cut off. Notice the hard, yet puzzle fitting edging between the sound and image segments. The foregoing tones simply squeeze into the new, louder tone, meshing with the tail of its previous expression. A high buzzing tone drops to a lower louder chord, which is distorted (seen as puffy) and sustains. At about :39, the sound drops off with a reverberated drop/click sound (seen as the little satellite of the second from left frequency mass) and rapid short ticks round off for a few seconds (low frequency left grass), before a slide mass comes in between :42 and :50. This mass resembles a metallic object sliding across guitar strings or similarly expressive surfaces, with a few notes strummed or hit in the movement, and ending with a reverberated "clap" (notice the thin straight lines at the end of the structure). The structures fades, and the space is left pretty bare. It is mainly space that defines this section between :50 and 1:10. However, within it, is a distant ticking object, very clear and tight, in the background; could be feet crinkling grass or moving a pile of small nails around on a metallic surface. The solitary line at 1:04 is a curious moment, which sounds like an animal or child's gasp, but recorded like drops hitting water… with that kind of sublime subtlety and motion. The little rain drops immediately after it sound like a bird tittering in the distance, again tight and pristinely recorded, with heavy MSG reverb. The space is suspended until it is again invaded by a structure…

It begins at 1:10, where by a rapid base pulse fades in. At 1:13 a melange of sounds come in, and carry through to the end of the structure at 1:42. The sounds appear to be:

a crisp breathing into a microphone, or a dog sniffing it

a music box dwindling around, or the slide guitar strings

some squeaks and shuffles and jungle noizes

or… crispy snow being pressed by boots

etc. etc.

It ends at with a subtle eclipsing of the mass - like an old TV shutting down and being compressed into that one horizontal line with the glowing star in the middle. The sound also resembles a hockey stick slapping a puck… but the recording quality removes us from these objects. The "soma" of quality in this piece…

Again back to space… ambient space with little action between 1:42 and 1:47... when an industrial device is turned on with a squeezing rising sound at 1:47, continuing with a hum, and joined by previous sources of the piece - though now isolated and naked. There are a few music box notes here and there, some ticks, scratches, snow packing ... but not as compacted and saturated as before. And the channels now separate partially. At 1:56, the left channel houses the sounds of something banging around… making "pots and pans" music. While the right channel, still partially receiving the left's' action, is focused on someone walk around outdoors in the country side. You can hear their breathing and footsteps. There also seems to be another walking narrative equally in both channels, tying them together.

This sort of thing builds until it is cut off at 2:37 by the return of the thick line hissing sound, (four puffy vertical lines) which is almost died out at 2:43 when a low buzz shoots out for a second (smeared harder edge thin line).

At 2:43, there is silence, save for four wooden knocks, leading into an ambient room at 2:46. At 2:47, there is an airy emission which is then turned off like a metallic clamp with a spring closing, followed by a door opening, producing two major squeaks at at 2:48 and 2:51. There is then a final reverberated door closing at 2:54... which as well closes this piece.

analysis by Sophia Male

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