Gelbspötter und Petrol. Stunts and Action - Steffen Krebber

The starting point for the composition of Gelbspötter und Petrol. Stunts and Action was an attempt to notate, as faithfully as possible, the voice of the icterine warbler (a bird from the order of Passeriformes). An analysis of the sounds produced by the bird revealed a huge variety of detail: the bird constantly changes intensity across the sound spectrum, piles up the various overtones, creates multiphonics, with the tones usually assuming the form of extremely fast elegant glissandi. The very first encounter with these sounds brought to mind stunts performed by musicians. The piece tackles a historical—and certainly also prehistorical— topos of representing animal voices by means of instruments with the greatest possible accuracy, attention, and empathy. The performance limits are reached quite quickly. A digital analysis used for the purpose of transcription poses a real challenge. Thanks to a reconstruction—made possible by digital technology—of one’s own living space a human being—as an actor, listener, performer and composer—is presented in a machine, posthumanist, and neoanimistic complex setting, which is of particular interest to me. The idea borrowed from the icterine warbler—of constant layering of spectra, with intervals between frequencies in glissandi remaining fixed—in a very slow performance leads to a gradual change in the sound of string instruments. In the piece it is juxtaposed with a transcription of the bird’s call, which, mixed with the sound of a siren, brings to mind a slow whirr of an engine. is mixture of a posthuman ambiguity and neo-animistic animal element suggested the title: petrol as a fuel and colour, with an allusion to the golden oriole. 

Steffen Krebber