Günther Rabl
Werke 15

ccr 415



Electroacoustic composition

1Gamma 12:27
2Vanderpol 9:23
3Intermezzo 8:28
4Scratch 21:53
5Ständchen (serenade)  
total 52:42


original sources: hd 32bit 44.4kHz 10-ch, stereo mix 2020
basic material: a koto solo by Chieko Mori [1,2,4]
a session with Chieko Mori koto, Michael Galasso violin, Frank Colon drums (recorded at the Looking Glass Studio NY, 2001) [3,5]
methods: speed variations, layerings, series of gamma functions, Fresnel distortion, Vanderpol resonators, automated scratching, greenspec reverb
tools: VASP, AMP
commission by NOe-Kultur [1]
produced at the composers studio, Heumühle, Austria
supported by: SKE-Fond
special thanks to: Chieko Mori, Michael Galasso, Frank Colin, Bert Gstettner
reference monitors for CD mastering: Klipsch HERESY E

A three-minute recording of a solo by the Japanese koto player Chieko Mori is the basis of the entire composition (koto: a Japanese string instrument). With the exception of the “Idylle” at the end of SCRATCH and the INTERMEZZO, all the parts have been exclusively developed from this sound material.
The sequence of the parts can be varied at will.
While working on the piece, there was a conversation with Bert Gstettner about his intention of making the “Raft of Medusa” into the theme for a dance project.
Although I do not directly refer to it, it was clear from the start that the music would be for this dance project and this complex of themes accompanied me during the entire work.
First performance in the scope of MEDUSA*EXPEDIT (a production of Tanz*Hotel with Bert Gstettner and Hannes Mlenek), Nov. 2015, Ankerbrot Expedithalle, Vienna.

Part 1: GAMMA
10-channel, 12 min.
The suite’s title track carries this name because I actually use “gamma functions” as formal elements in it. The gamma function is characterized by an enormously rapid development: Whereas there are only several, disparate elements at the beginning, there will be millions within only a few seconds. In this case they are short attacks of the koto tones that trail off in the distance.
However, the original, monotonic koto solo stands at the beginning in the original. More and more variants in another tempo are gradually added, which ultimately results in a 6000-voice layering: a dense rushing that breaks off abruptly. What remains can be completely understood as such: “You hear the storms roaring and the waves pounding against the planks” (Ditta Rudle)—a reduction of the densification. Only now do the piercing attacks make an appearance, those which Bert Gstettner interprets in the scenic performance of MEDUSA as the millionfold echo of the moment in which the ropes are cut and the raft of Medusa is consigned to its fate.
Composition commission from NÖ-Kultur

4-channel, 10 min.
The term “Fresnel” (named after the French physicist Augustin Jean Fresnel, 1788-1827) is known to many people who deal with photography and optics, at least by name. The functions Fresnel found—when applied to sound—are among the most beautiful types of distortion that I know (Jimi Hendrix would have had his joy with it!). In this variation, two complementary “Fresnel distortions” are applied to the strongly slowed-down recording of the bass koto, however, in time reverse. Unrelentingly penetrating—there’s no other way to describe it.
But another element then comes into play: resonators—Vanderpol resonators (named after the Dutch engineer Balthasar van der Pol, 1889-1959). These are resonators which, like all resonators, need a stimulation, but which pick out their frequencies more or less by themselves.

7-channel, 22 min.
“Scratching” (the manual moving of records) is generally known today as a method of DJs and turntable players. But as it is with methods that have the dubious honor of becoming a trend, one gladly forgets that it has been known and practiced for decades—however, not on vinyl, but with audio tape. This method has accompanied my work since the beginning of the Seventies. The computer opens a further dimension: Scratching can be controlled and automated through functions, as well as with speeds that are not even remotely achievable manually. (The computer programs I have been continuously developing for 30 years and which I exclusively work with can do that). The resulting types of sounds range from powerful rhythms and drones up to pulsating tones in all pitches.
That is the basis for this variation. After a long, turbulent development, the music ends in a high whir. Then a new element emerges: a “serenade,” the recording of a session that hasn’t been released until now (Chieko Mori: koto, Michael Galasso: violin, Frank Colon: drums, recorded at The Looking Glass Studio in New York, 2001), changed very little. An idyll—it is deceiving! The high whirr doesn’t stop and is finally the only musical element remaining. The idyll proves to be the final hallucination.

2-channel, 8 min.
A densification of the “serenade” at the end of SCRATCH, which is reminiscent of distant bells in places, or some kind of distant tumult. It can stand anywhere between the three main blocks, but also as an introduction.

G.R. 2015

Günther Rabl Werke 15
1 CD in digipak
including a foto by Guy Fleming