I was commissioned a work for the Acoustic Atlas by Cobi van Tonder. The Atlas is a fascinating website where you can pick an acoustic space anywhere on the globe and listen to yourself in it (if you have headphones and a mic!). The commission included both a music piece, which I’ve called Snømaskn (chimera), and a space, which I’ve imagined and conceived to be used in the Atlas. You’ll find the stories of both the piece and the space below, underneath the artwork I made for the piece; as well as Cobi’s notes on the concept of Echoes and Reflections.

Listen on bandcamp (with headphones! the piece is in binaural, 3D audio) or on the Acoustic Atlas (in ambisonics audio)
Below: my artwork for the piece


Chimera through time-space reflection

I had this idea to make something “impossible” or unreal, as a “chimera”: an impossible appearance of sources originating in an electric or electronic process, in an acoustic atmosphere where they do not belong. The resulting space is an attempt to connect several different acoustic worlds through immaterial underground paths.
To enter the imaginary space, listen to the piece: it starts with electronic drops, like morse signals from an unreachable space. The space builds up as the narrative develops around an interview with the snow maintenance company for railways, from processed news prep archive tapes from the 60s, that I process time-wise –
thinking of “mirroring” as a timely process, time running back and forth, continuing into another subject about future space stations.

“Mais tu ne peux pas l’entendre,
la chimère aux yeux de rêve/de verre.
Et où disparaît la route
Quand la nuit tombe sur nous ?”
(But you can’t hear it, you’re the chimera with eyes made of glass/of dreams. And where does the road disappear, when the night falls us?) (Cikatri$, Quand la Nuit Tombe sur Nous)

Drums played by Jonas Jonsson

Aurélie’s imaginary space

A rare type of marble has been discovered beside a regular mine in the region of XXX in Northern Scandinavia, off a faraway drift deep underneath the surface. An underground excavation is secretly started, that follows the extracting habits of marble quarries from the Alentejo region in Portugal – think, building a pink marble cathedral underground as a monolith. This works fine for a while, as the added dimension of a “roof” do not seem make the whole structure weaker than the usual open-sky excavation site. When the marble runs out, the idea of installing an experimental nuclear reactor in the created space is investigated, as an underground location was believed safer at the time (in the end this reactor will be installed at R1 underneath Stockholm instead). Unfortunately, as years go by the mining ground in the region becomes unstable. The tunnel connecting the “cathedral” to the regular “official” mine is walled off and the space condemned, any trace of information such as exact location is discarded. All remaining equipment is re-labeled as belonging to a company in charge of snow maintenance in a distant city. Since the exact location of the secret marble excavation cannot be displayed, we are using as GPS coordinates a barycenter of all mines in production in the area in the late 60s, when the unusual snow maintenance equipment mentioned above was reported.

Echoes and Reflections is a series of 9 sound works created by artists commissioned by the Acoustic Atlas. These works bring a unique experience to listeners by combining virtual acoustic heritage sites with composition, whilst reflecting on the myth and meaning of Echo. Everything about our consciousness seems to be a continuing process of mirroring – from language, behavior, empathy, sharing tweets and internet memes. Music is the most delightful mirroring of consciousness that ripples in our minds to continue its evolution. Music can also be the matter that crosses all boundaries between interior (body-mind) space and exterior world, which in turn is so beautifully mirrored in architecture with its play between exterior landscape or elements and interior closeness or safety.
– Cobi van Tonder