The Making-Of "Raumklang Eins"

The Concept

Raumklang Eins is a vanguard project. The main idea derives from the consideration how electronic music would sound when it would behave like acoustic instruments do in recording sessions. In other words: When you’re recording an instrument you need a microphone that picks up the sound of the instrument that is playing in a room. So the sound is being transported by air to the microphone, which also picks up the room’s unique characteristics in connection with the instrument’s sound. You don’t have this sound characteristics when working with electronic instruments, because where is cables there is no “room”. So this is where the focus of this project lies: To record electronic music in specific rooms in order to capture each room’s unique characteristics. So there are actually two interesting questions why I wanted to do such a project: “What happens to electronic music when it loses it’s concrete, precise, non-spatial characteristics?” and “How does the unique characteristics of a room influence the sound of the recording itself?”.

  1. Industriekomplex 02:41
  2. Entweihte Kirche 05:28
  3. Roboterfabrik 02:18
  4. Tiefgarage 03:51
  5. Vogelvoliere 03:03
  6. Eissporthalle 04:28
  7. Haftzelle 02:39
  8. Hallenbad 04:18
  9. Personenaufzug 03:11
  10. Boxklub 04:33
  11. Leeres Büro 05:08

The Execution

In order to capture the true sound of each room I didn’t want to use many different microphones that were placed at different spots, because that would cause an unprecise image of the acoustic situation. Therefore I used a pair of Lewitt LCT 340 in ORTF configuration and placed them at a position of each room where the “audience” was sitting. And that’s why all tracks do not contain any mix, because they are all just 1:1 images of how the music sounded at a certain spot inside each room. And to really have impressive results I did not perform the music in stereo, but quadrophonic! So I placed four speakers around the microphones. The sound was literally moving from one speaker to another creating incredible sound images of the room. For instance in some recordings the sound was moving from the back of the audience’ position to the front. You might say: “But you have recorded everything in stereo. Why should there be any effect when the sound comes from behind?”. But there WAS a huge effect, because the reflections of the sound from behind had a longer way to travel to the microphones! You can really feel each room’s dimensions.

The Music

I haven’t made any preparations for each recording regarding the musical performance. I just went in and deeply listened to what could sound right. Then I just improvised with the modular system and made sounds I thought would fit to each situation. Still each patch was quite complex in order to give the audience no flat performance just because the idea with the rooms was good enough. Sometimes there were additional sound sources like the canary birds or the swimmers at the indoor swimming pool. I also wanted to achieve different feelings with each recording. The ice pavillion for instance is a recording with cold and harsh sounds that make you feel a bit anxious while the defiled church gives warm and cozy impressions.

The Result

I am very proud of how Raumklang Eins evolved. It took about one year to travel to all locations, made the recordings, selected the takes and mastered the sound.

You can purchase the full album digitally from all online stores or get yourself one of the limited edition CDs.


Thomas Burkhardt