domizil 22, 2004
Cover Photo courtesy by P. Fischli & David Weiss
Swiss experimentalist and sound artist Stephan Wittwer has released his first album, a double CD, for the Swiss domizil label. Coming after his internationally acclaimed audio work streams on the Grob label, which earned him an honorary mention at 2002’s Ars Electronica, sicht04etc. is an album that contains moments of sublime beauty and gentleness. Most notable is the long piece sicht04 on disc number 2, which is a surprising work of almost meditative calm, of raw sketchiness and sensuality. Throughout this piece, the room is filled with long, sustained synthetic drones and the sounds of a detuned steel string guitar. These partial layers of prime number harmonics result in the bell-like sounds of clashing tonal systems.
The musical material on sicht04etc. is based on ideas and samples that Wittwer developed over the last ten years to accompany the work of visual artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss (for example for their ultra-slow slide show installation Sichtbare Welt). The composition LSRMstereo is a two-channel version of a work commissioned for the listening room at 2003’s Taktlos Festival in Berne, where the multi channel version of the piece was presented alongside the work of other artists such as Alvin Curran, Christian Fennesz, Otomo Yoshihide and Steinbruechel.
Most of the tracks on the CD were created using algorithmic or probabilistic methods; there is almost no «live» guitar on it, although some disembodied sounds of the instrument are present. The music was mainly developed in the SuperCollider environment, often using stochastic processes, which lead to a different rendering of the compositions each time the program code (or ‘score’) is executed. The versions on the CD itself are therefore un-repeatable and unique.