Aufstieg AV / AAV 0502

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A compilation of three compositions for electronics by Volkmar Klien.

Amplitudes and Frequencies

Amplitudes and Frequencies is a product of my interest in the relation between chronology, faith and (sonic) causality. The compositional method I used to begin with was the method of constantly getting side-tracked exploring the material I had chosen to start with (28 sound files of single waterdrops and a few TXT files interpreted as sounds). But since there was no preconceived goal for the process, these sidetracks lead to territories as fertile as any other, and since there was nothing to reach, there was not any main road to take. A network of sonic relations between the products of my explorations, the stored sounds were spun, held together by the person/composer whose preoccupation (with certain interesting phenomena) and general disposition (e. g. going for lunch, forgetting a certain strategy, mistyping a parameter of an algorithm) all participated in the creative process.

With sound files amassed by following this ‘method’, I would then be required (if I ever wanted to end up with a piece of music) to make decisions. By deciding the order of events in a piece, one amasses decisions. To be able to decide the composer needs to believe that one thing – at the present point in the piece – is better than others. Decisions are based on faith in something. Since a piece is the result of numerous decisions, it is also a product, a battery of faith. It is a little box full of faith, passed from the composer to the audience. As time goes by, even the composer forgets about the other possibilities that had almost become reality. And with the uncomforting knowledge about the role of pure chance in its creation fading away, the work of art comes into being as a product of necessity; inner, eternal or divine, each of which is quite acceptable, although – the stronger better.

For, as Robert Musil pointed out in his Man Without Qualities: “There is an applicable saying by a famous early scholastic, ‘credo, ut intelligam’, which might be freely translated into a prayer for our times as ‘O Lord, please grant my spirit a production credit!’ Since every human creed is probably only a special instance of the credit system. In love as in business, in science as in long jump, one has to believe before one can win and score, so how can it be otherwise for life as a whole? However well founded an order may be, it always rests in part on a voluntary faith in it, a faith that, in fact, always marks the spot, where the new growth begins, as in a plant; once this unaccountable and uninsurable faith is used up, the collapse soon follows; epochs and empires crumble no differently from business concerns when they lose their credit.”

Schlammverfestigung. Mit Ausblick auf den großen Kitsch

Schlammverfestigung. Mit Ausblick auf den großen Kitsch was composed and produced during spring 1999 at composer’s studio in Greenwich, London.

One (crippling) attempt to translate the title would be: The solidification of sludge, with a view of the great ‘Kitsch’. The composition’s title is a metaphor for the process of producing the piece. By creating many minute sonic interrelations – connections from one part to another – it becomes possible to create something that, within its own limits, presents itself as firm and structured. Just as a tree growing in swamplands is able to reach a certain height by developing innumerable branches of tiny roots, all these small relationships between the individual sounds produce stability even when lacking firm foundations. In this way it became possible to build out of nothing a great vista at 2'30" merely by stabilising the ground sufficiently to be able to build on it.

Links – Rechts. Mitte. Weit

Links – Rechts. Mitte. Weit is based on the soundtrack to Michael Klien’s choreography Einem commissioned by Ballett Frankfurt, ZKM and Tanzquartier Wien.


Volkmar Klien – electronics


001 / Amplitudes and Frequencies
16'35" / MP3 (excerpt)
002 / Schlammverfestigung. Mit Ausblick auf den großen Kitsch
8'13" / MP3 (excerpt)
003 / Links – Rechts. Mitte. Weit
18'52" / MP3 (excerpt)

Released in April 2006 / All tracks written and produced by Volkmar Klien