Felix Hess ‎– Air Pressure Fluctuations

Edition RZ ‎– ed.RZ 10014, Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken ‎– none
Parallele – 14


1 Air Pressure Fluctuations 20:38



360 x natural speed
20'38" stereo
2000.09.23 16:00 - 2000.09.28 19:49 (UT+2h)
Noordlaren (NL) 53°08'N, 6°39'E
Left=WSW, Right=ENE, 64m.
pressure range: ±2 Pascal

The title in German is Luftdruckschwankungen.

From the liner notes:
"Here is a CD containing a recording of air pressure fluctuations. When played on ordinary audio equipment, the recorded air pressure fluctuations (technically named infrasound) are reproduced at 360 times the original speed, and thus can be perceived by our ears as sounds. This means that one second of sound on the CD reproduces six minutes of original time, and the four minutes on the CD correspond to one day-and-night. It also means that the audible frequency range between 18 Hz and 18000 Hz originally was between 0.05 Hz and 50 Hz. Almost everything to be heard on this CD was inaudible, literally unheard of, in real time, because it was too low for our ears. Our sense of direction in hearing depends on the small time differences between the arrivals of sounds in both ears. To obtain the correct time differences for a realistic stereo effect the microphones were placed 360 times as far apart as our ears are, at 64 meters. The CD accurately reproduces air pressure fluctuations which originally were in the range between 0.03 Hz and 56 Hz. What do they sound like now?
One hears high-pitched whistles, beeps and insect like buzzes, which come from the deep rumblings of factories, trains and trucks and other motor cars, or even nearby washing machines. The opening and closing of doors gives rise to countless tiny clicks, which may add up to form a sound like soft rain on autumn leaves. The dawn of a new day, every four minutes on the CD, is marked by an upsurge of whistles and clicks: the world wakes up! Sonic booms of supersonic airplanes sound like thick paper being crumpled. The wind's turbulence causes localized pressure fluctuations, sometimes of overwhelming power; it seems fractal-like, and hardly sounds like stereo, left and right are nearly unrelated. Finally, depending on the weather situation at large, an extraordinary presence may appear: a humming sound or a rich, deep drone, audible like a multi-engined heavy airplane in the distance. This deep droning sound, at times all but inaudible, is formed by oscillations in the atmosphere - microbaroms - caused by standing water waves on the Atlantic Ocean, far away.
After five days and nights the recording was prematurely terminated due to rain water seeping into a poorly taped microphone plug. This CD now lasts only just over 20 minutes, but I've chosen to present it because of the variations in the sounds of waves of the ocean. It was autumn. Imagine: everything you hear now was very very slow, very very wide.
My thanks to John and Hanneke Videler for their kind assistance and hospitality.
Haren, 2001, Felix Hess"

Other Versions (2 of 2) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
Ed. RZ 10014, ISBN 3-933257-65-4 Felix Hess Air Pressure Fluctuations(CD, EP, Boo) Edition RZ, Kehrer Verlag Ed. RZ 10014, ISBN 3-933257-65-4 Germany 2001 Sell This Version
ISBN 90-807789-2-3 Felix Hess Witteveen+Bos-prijs voor Kunst+Techniek 2003(CD, EP, Boo) Witteveen+Bos ISBN 90-807789-2-3 Netherlands 2003 Sell This Version