Setup Song

Julian Siffert: Setup Song (2017)

for two guitars, live electronics and video
2017/08/25 by AAA—AAA at Kyung Hee University/Seoul

Julian Siffert:
„Two microphones are positioned on stage, a camera in the audience. During the concert, all the breaks between the pieces are recorded. After the last piece, the two instrumentalists replace the microphones with speakers, sit down next to them and put on headphones. They then listen to the breaks and reproduce them on their instruments. Sometimes the speakers and/or a projector provide context by playing back the sounds or video that are being reproduced. Seven seconds of silence are inserted between the breaks.

In early 2016 i became responsible for the recordings of the concerts by the composition class at the HDMK Stuttgart. Since then I spend most of the concerts in a studio, listening to the pieces of my colleagues through speakers without any visual impressions or audience around me. In such an atmosphere, in the absence of any moderation, the often minute-long breaks between the pieces gained an aesthetic quality themselves. They seemed like Musique-concrète-miniatures in their transmission through speakers with the sounds stripped of their pragmatically motivated sources. Due to the time pressure, a certain density of actions occurred, that – precisely executed and synchronized on stage – produced surprisingly well defined and clearly shaped sonic events.
The isolating impact of the concert space and the silencing frame of the event (the audience remained relatively silent, even within the brakes) furthermore allowed for a focus on these sounds. What distinguished the setup-break from most field-recordings was thus the lack of polyphony, that gave it its clear and closed form.

Its formal identity is not a field but a process, marked by applause and the piece afterwards. Additionally, it is sonically defined by very few directly indexical sounds (sounds whose source are easy to hear through the sound, e.g. footsteps). This makes it even easer to listen to them as put together musically.

Setup-Song tries to productively use this gap between works in a concert, an often uninteresting necessity as well as mark the event in total as performative.“