AKA Vito Acconci / New Humans / C. Spencer Yeh
Hecker, Höller, Tracks
Christina Kubisch Armonica CD / SEMI 006
Completing the trilogy of Christina Kubisch releases on Semishigure, Armonica features another investigation into one specific sound source, which forms the basis of a one-hour composition. If the sound sources for Diapason (SEMI 002) and Twelve Signals (SEMI 004) were almost non-musical (respectively, tuning forks and mining bells), Kubisch’ newest work is created by using the glass harmonica, an instrument from the 18th century, which isn’t in use anymore.
The glass harmonica, also known as armonica, was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1763. This instrument consisted of a series of chromatically graded glass discs, which were moved by foot action. The sounds were produced by friction against the glass rims through wet fingers. The instrument was very much in vogue in the 18th century due to its mysterious sound, often compared to voices from higher spheres. Playing the glass harmonica caused serious nervous breakdowns in some of its, mostly female, players, which soon caused it to go out of fashion.
The composition Armonica consists exclusively of original recordings made using an authentic glass harmonica from the museum of musical instruments in Berlin, Germany. The recording has not been altered artificially, making the distinctive sound of this instrument the foundation on which the recording rests.
Armonica comes with a 12-page booklet with monochromatic photography of a sound installation by Christina Kubisch.