the sonic guts – Magdeburg

 In 2018, Kunstmuseum, Magdeburg, On golden hares

Last weekend I was in Essex and ended up inside the church I’ve known since I was tiny. I’m not even remotely religious but I like churches and have visited many, often as it was the only place to find a bit of space before making a concert in a city I didn’t know and of course to marvel at the architecture and the material and scale of the build and the how and the of course why. This church visit though was to play the organ. It’s a modest village church with a flutey pipey sound that I’ve bashed around on all my life pedals and all. That day I was suddenly curious to understand what the stops actually do.  Oh    >>>

A revelation. They modulate the sound of the note of course, but in such malleable detail I was amazed. Holding single notes and slowly pulling and pushing the different stops in and out, breathy, gaspy, microtunal combinations appearing collapsing,  add another note, a pedal, take one away. The physical connection with the making of the sound was so exquisite I stumbled outside 3 hours later transfixed. My ongoing Berlin composition with the electric ELKA organ suddenly felt feeble.  This was the beast to work with.

Now back in Berlin in the studio with the Magdeburg material and it all becomes clear. Magdeburg is stuffed with extraordinary and beautiful churches with vast empty spaces.  They will all have organs. Could there be any chance that I could get to play one? the Kunstmuseum are going to investigate. I’ve a good feeling about this.

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