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Intimate Spaces Making-of Pt.2: The Cavaedium

HannesHannes

There’s an incredible sense of liberation being able to say the words: “it’s released!”. Something that has so far been a mental construct, caged in the artist’s mind, is being set free. But it’s also the mind of the artist being freed from this thought, this construct, which over time has occupied more and more space.

The thing being released – you guessed it – is my first album Intimate Spaces, which is now available on Bandcamp in its entirety. Time for some more making-of! Let’s take a look at track #3.

Cavædium

Years ago, while still living in a tiny apartment in the city of Bolzano (northen Italy, on the border with Austria) I became fascinated with the sound of the building’s cavaedium. The cavaedium is a tall rectangular pit-like structure usually found on the inside of a large building. It serves the purpose of bringing light and air to the rooms that would otherwise not get any. Our cavaedium was 5 stories tall and had a large roof window on top.

This track is made with recordings from this cavaedium.

The cavaedium had a very peculiar and strong sound, and worked as a resonator and amplifier for the city’s noises, melding these into a constant drone, which was audible especially during the summer. When keeping the windows open, you could hear all sorts of things: music, voices and sounds from the adjacent flats, trains passing by, car noises, etc.

The cavaedium was also colouring and shaping the sound in a very specific way, through resonance and perhaps comb filtering. It created this constant drone, which you could hear all the time. Here’s an unprocessed recording, to give you an idea:

This drone had a very specific and clearly audible root frequency around 150Hz.

Most of the sounds you can hear in the track, even the ones that sound like a slightly noisy synth, are actually field recordings.

This track defined my process for the whole album. Initially I only wanted to work with field recordings, but I was not very satisfied with the result, so I started to experiment with the modular, adding things here and there. I decided to make all synth sounds revolve around the fundamental frequency of the cavaedium’s drone, in some parts blending the two together, making it harder to distinguish the synthetic sounds from the ones I had recorded.

I don’t usually spend much time taking patch notes, but I somehow liked the idea of being able to reproduce this one live, so I did actually make some detailed notes about my patch and later cleaned them up on the computer.

Similarly to “bridge” I wanted synthetic sounds to have the same reverb quality as the recordings, so I created some custom impulse responses (by popping a balloon and recording the thus produced noise).

Here’s an early recording of just the synth lines:

Hannes
Author

Graphic designer, illustrator and soundmangler. He makes music as kurodama and as part of the electronic music duo kvsu. Together with his wife Elizabeth he runs Papernoise, a small design studio located in northern Italy, specialised in graphic design for the world of music.

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