Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bill Fontana - Ohrbrücke - Soundbridge Köln - San Francisco (Wergo, 1994)

If one idea prevails through much of Bill Fontana's recorded work, it's the notion of transporting sound, of taking what's heard in many places channeling them into one. His Soundbridge pieces work in a similar fashion to his Sound Maps, pooling together sounds from geographically distant locations. For Ohrbrücke, Fontana juxtaposes sound maps of Cologne and San Francisco, broadcasting them then via satellite to numerous radio stations across Europe and the US. The resulting sound mass was not entirely owed to happenstance. During the broadcast, the six Romanesque church bell towers in Cologne performed a piece of Fontana's design. For listeners in Cologne, this allowed a unique experience dependent on one's proximity to any one bell tower. Simultaneously, and beyond Fontana's control, the fog horns along the Golden Gate Bridge sound, introducing tones that interact and at times interfere with the sounding of the church bells. The bulk of the work's impact is first felt as these collisions occur--and as the overlapping of the two cities is most obvious--which in turn makes the less active moments equally engaging as the listener attempts to pry apart the cities' sounds.

Ohrbrücke - Soundbridge Köln - San Francisco


  1. excellent, hypnotic sounds. just discovered twice zonked and am looking forward to going through and sampling all these wonderful posts. thanks

  2. Very nice of you to say. I hope what you find is to your liking.