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Plan C 2014

by staalplaat soundsystem

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The Deutzer Brucke has the echoes of a cathedral but not its silence.
It has the fullness of sound of a public and therefore open place, but is still a closed piece of architecture, in which you can act acoustically any way you want to.
Staalplaat Soundsystem in their installation for the Bruckenmusik were able to work with volumes which would be out of the question for public spaces of the conventional kind.
For their installation Plan C, the artists’ collective, chose a double strategy which temporally alternated between subordination to the sound scenes given in the bridge, or opposition to them with powerful sound.
Staalplaat Soundsystem installed two groups of very different sound producers, in the first segment behind the entrance hatch, tender melody fragments sounded from little motor-driven musical boxes at wide intervals and whose punched strips, closed into loops, were projected as patterns onto the opposite side wall of the darkened space by little lamps.
Their high- pitched melodies contrasted clearly to the sound of the traffic, but were sporadically drowned by the swelling noise of the trams, so that the alternation of transparency and masking made the listener sensitive to the traffic roaring above the spaces.
An opposing function, namely that of completely drowning the total sound happening, including the omnipresent traffic noise, was given to a second group of very simple but extremely effective sound machines.
A total of twelve wooden boxes, with orbital sanding machines vibrating on their sides, distributed all over the three bridge chambers, were placed beside the little musical boxes. The playing together of several of these mighty- sounding instruments, coordinated at regular intervals, filled each bridge segment with a deep and loud bass note which drowned the whole sound scenery and stimulated an impressively long echo by its high energy level.
Perceived at a greater distance, from one of the neighboring chambers, the sound happening was reminiscent of the thunder of a storm.
Staalplaat Soundsystem supported this association with their light installation in the central segment. Here, the duration of the body echo in the material of the bridge was made visible along the stretch of 180 meters by vibration-sensitive LEDs. The little light sources reacted with light impulses to the vibrations of the wooden boxes, and with them the shaking caused by passing trams and heavy goods vehicles.
From the neighboring chambers, the sporadic remaining light of the flickering lamps, rising and falling, was reminiscent of far away sheet lightning.
text by Hubert Steins .


released July 28, 2023

composition by Radboud Mens


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staalplaat Amsterdam, Netherlands

Staalplaat is a label for sound artists: an organization network founded in 1982 by Geert-Jan Hobijn. Staalplaat operates many sublabels like: Hond In De Goot, Microwave Recordings, Mort Aux Vaches, Container, ERS, Necrophile Records, God Factory, Korm Plastics Introductionaire, material series, Staaltape our cassette label. ... more

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