Soundwalk Collective – Oscillation

Soundwalk Collective was given unprecedented access to the halls of the emblematic nightclub Berghain / Panoramabar in Berlin.

A re-incarnation of the legendary Ostgut club, the focal point of Berlin’s techno subculture, the Berghain building is a former East German power plant that is remarkable for its enormous dimensions, 18m high dance floor and minimalist constitution of steel, glass and concrete.

An architectural space that facilitates experiences of sacredness, collective oneness and egalitarianism, Berghain is known for its impressive sound system, extended afterhours, and the defining sound of Berlin techno.

The Collective have placed 147 contact sensors on all surfaces inside and outside of the club: concrete walls, steel staircases, water pipes, ventilation tunnels, air ducts, metal frames, cages, fences, dark rooms, toilets, engine rooms, industrial glass windows, pillars, dj booths, ceilings.

Over the course of multiple club nights they mapped out the whole structure and progressively recorded the entire movement of the building under the impact of the hammering music.

Structures are not silent.

Not only humans or animals are affected by sound, but the entire environment is, living and non-living bodies. As sonic anthropology, the Collective’s intention was to expose the silent voice of the building, its own echo, as an invisible architectural dance.

They have used instruments from the Atelier Baschet especially modified to translate low-frequency oscillations into resonance.

4. Ground Floor, Staircase, Steel

by Soundwalk Collective | Oscillation

In the composition, we hear the sound of Berghain’s architecture played through the metallic plates of the Baschet instruments, revealing a musical interpretation of the building’s vibration.

What appears is a sense of harmony of very atmospheric quality, reflecting the different gravities and masses of each structure. As if the beat has penetrated every surface, wall and window of the club, and has progressively inhabited the structure and fossilised, leaving an echo, a sonic memory.

The sense of space, floatiness and levitation are reminiscent of the left-over, the impact that the music has left in our bodies. The sense of stupor and daze that we feel walking out of a club after long hours of listening and dancing, when there is no more solid matter, where everything is molecular and particles are suspended in mid-air, when silence has a voice.

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