The platform for innovative music, Shape, spoke to Woodwind’s soundtrack composer Stefan Fraunberger. Here follows extracts from the Q & A, just before he performs at the CTM Festival in Berlin:
On his music in abandoned churches
I used to live in one of these Saxon fortress churches built 600, 700 years ago as a protection against the Ottomans. All of the German minorities fled during Communism in the 1980s and after the fall of the Iron Curtain these villages ended up empty. I lived in a priest’s house in one of these places. Naturally I sometimes went to the church during the night and started playing on the organ there. I returned after seven or eight years to find all these instruments had deteriorated within that time. They were left as they were 30 years ago unlike the organs in Western Europe which are like a Ferrari or Porsche on a technical level, but I wouldn’t like to drive a Porsche in that sense. I tried to find modernity in these old rotten ghosts in the periphery to then treat them like a synthesizer. Quellgeister means to search for „well-rotten organs“ in Transylvanian villages and then record there for two weeks. These areas are now re-inhabited by the Roma and Sinti, which is great. Besides the poverty, I would also witness a great atmosphere in these villages. The word transformation comes to mind – instruments transform, the environment transforms, and I’m trying to extract from these instruments what time has done to them musically. That’s why I would call it sonic archeology.
On his latest works and Woodwind
I’m trying to adapt barzakh, which was premiered last April at the Donau Festival, for Berghain. Part of the concept is to always adapt the piece to different contexts. I’m also working on a South African film production called The Woodwind, which should get released around next autumn. I am also composing for the aforementioned a purely acoustic ensemble for nine instruments and I‘ve recorded the material for Quellgeister no. 3.
On the santoor, which is reminiscent of his work on the soundtrack
I take the Santoor, the Iranian dulcimer with 90 strings, pick it up in an electromagnetic way and then amplify it to booming heights, while treating it with electronics. At the same time, there is a background-noise of field recordings, which I’ve made during the last ten years. All this results in strange perceptional fields which can go from melodic to hardcore noise structures. I don’t want to be afraid about going into any sort of extreme. The concept of the word “Barzakh” denotes that there is basically no limit between the subject and the object, between the real and the imaginary. It’s all about blurring the lines.
You can read the full interview on Shape here.