Keyholes texts
I owned an electronic organ that I abandoned at the age of twelve after recurring skin allergies which completely absorbed my will to attend organ lessons in the summer. The next time I switched it on I was fourteen.
Later, when I started to spend whole days tape-recording myself playing on the electronic organ and various other instruments that I had built, sometimes voices from within the organ spoke to me. Some hidden parts functioned as involuntary antennas, receiving transmissions of female voices counting numbers. I could listen to them for long periods during mellow afternoons, thinking I had found some secrets. And, indeed, those were the codes of espionage of the former GDR.

A man, haunted by the music of planets.
A few particles from the picture permeate the skin of my eyes and then land on the colour sensitive spots further inside. They touch my senses with colour flashes. A shower of extreme consciousness overflows me from time to time like an explosion occuring in small bits. Later that night, when I was lying under a lamp, absorbing the cold whitish light from the corner of my eye, loud white flashes were hissing deep in the back of the brain, from where the nerves go through the body. These intense feelings were coupled with an anxiety that my retina could be singed and burn in wonderfully coloured sparks, like ashes of a log glimmering at a transition line between white and black.
One night I am in a train station in the banlieue of Paris. Sitting on the floor I suddenly start falling deeper and deeper into this hole. Every time I close my eyes—this covering of the pupils, which have already seen too much—I am toppling below the rim of the opening in the concrete pavement, and these french voices blur. Voices of blacks, arriving and departing in little groups. Suddenly I hear english and german words, the latter being a sound which obviously would like to reestablish itself after two weeks of foreign languages. I hear voices calling my name, and surreal constellations of words. Afraid of losing my mind I get up—a feeling like being touched in the inside by a cold sheet of metal—steering my unsure steps a few meters ahead to survey my situation. The whole thing occurs several times. A kind of automatism seemed to work here, independent of my ability to control it.
Assembly-line work: the noise of the machines around—like a small universe. So screams are more endurable and melt into the scene.
An unidentifiable sound in the distance: a machine or a bird? Much too slow I am spooling music in my head; each movement extends endlessly. It takes a few minutes’ hard thinking to formulate one word.
Some nights in autumn and winter when the air was still mild we drove up to the university campus to make sound recordings in the park. I grew more and more obsessed and fascinated with these trips. Although not far from the city, it was pretty silent, and any sound was clearly audible and instantly a subject for my enthusiasm. One of the most powerful recordings I’ve not touched for several years was made when we walked over a big meadow with dry leaves, trying to upset some crows in the trees. The resulting recording is very quiet, with an unsteady crackling. It was half reminiscent of a procession with an obscure purpose, the crows remaining mostly silent.
There are connections between the jungle through which I roam, and shopping streets with their cascades of radio recorders, speakers, chains of little lights, and the factory halls with stamping, hissing robot arms. All ambiences of this kind form noise domes above the head. Think about multistorey shopping malls…
Also the jungle is an endless hall, which even in the distance resonates with sounds. No doubt one has to learn to move in the modern noise jungle as a nomad moves in the real jungle. And undoubtedly this requires a different procedure than just stopping to read the occasional top ten list.
The mixture of single sounds or musics is important, them not corresponding to chronographical principles (not the time structure along a timestream is what constitutes the sequence of meaning here). Audible events which cannot or can just hardly be made out to contain a succession of beats are classifiable as rhythm, too.
Harmony is a bird’s cry accompanied by a harvester’s pounding. Why shouldn’t they be harmonic? Finally a music which allows for infinite combinations is discernible. The system of compositions formed into sound only through meaning, the contents of associations to images and terms. But even then there are deeper levels: behind mere association there is another level of information which is not necessarily connected with the associated object, event or term. This information is similar to the hidden sense of a cut-up sentence, which does not match the meaning of each and every word. It gets more complicated once there are noises, which cannot be put into understandable order referring to codes already known. In contrast to words, which even in written form will always be mentally translated into familiar word noise, encoded by language, those noises are now defamiliarized noises. A side-effect in this case is that one finds out about new codes by the alienation. From ambience to education program.
Today I hear something threatening above me. It is more than just the brushing of tree tops against the sky.
At night man lives in smaller dimensions. Which explains everything. Though in the past, shortly before falling asleep or in the middle of the night—after a second of shock—I have experienced moments of mania: the space of the room’s ceiling seemed infinitely large, and any possible noise which could have unfolded, infinitely loud. But it was only the drone of infinite stillness, which struck me with intolerable fear. Believing I’d be hearing voices, maybe gods, ghosts—who knows—I began to make out colour spots, so many of them that they fell down on me, and my head, my infinitely still head sucked them all in. The roaring became even louder and it did not stop until I was being close to the brink of mania, getting relieved. Nowadays, these situations occur only very rarely, but like signs. And I just await the moment when my head will really explode from the roaring and suction and fear. Make my environment as small as possible.
For a while I used amphetamines to work on music. They enabled me to extend one moment, to focus on something into which all else—a universe—would converge. I could make interesting sounds, I could compose for hours without a break. Listening to what I’d made without the drug’s influence, everything sounded too short, too quickly gone—the illusion of a much longer time was not prevalent anymore. Years later I realized that I had always been able to work with such a concentration and focus, without using a drug. From that point on I always tried to be as lucid as possible while working on music.
Sitting in a train: outside it is sunny and warm, but the heating in the train is still running. The train goes through a forest, tree shadows let the sunshine oscillate, only peripherably visible. Together with the drone of the train’s wheels and the resonances in its bodywork they make me sleepy. Drifting in and out of a hypnagogic state, I imagine voices, sounds, strange music.
I wake up at 5 a.m., after dreaming that I go to a meeting or leave a party to get to this meeting which takes place in a small town, the town I live in. A group of foreign youths follow me. When I get to the place, I am anxious to disappear into the house quickly. There is an elderly man and a blond woman with child, and we have a mission to do. The three foreigners besiege the building, and at one point I notice that the youngest of them attaches something onto a window on the ground floor, after which all three run away. For some reason I am sure that what he attached there is some high-tech weapon. We discuss the situation when the window pane occasionally rattles. The man makes a remark about it and instantly other windows begin making noise. He says that we have to get up to the roof as fast as possible. When we arrive on the roof I can see that the whole building consists mainly of glass windows. The noise builds up to physical pain and it is still getting louder. There is a constant rattle now, so intense that I have to cover my ears, but it does not make any difference since now my whole head is vibrating with that noise. I start screaming. When I wake up, I cannot move for a moment, and when I get up to go to the toilet, I see a pixel pattern in my field of vision. I am frightened.
Observing a fire: the most exciting moments are those in which the logs just glimmer and emit a rather low, but crisp crackling, and a second layer of smaller fires evolves on the surface, hovering just a tiny bit above them, almost undistinguishable from its background. Then it is possible to imagine little burning cities, to scale in one's mind what the eye beholds, watching the unsteady movements of the ever changing layer of fire.