Glottal Wolpertinger – documenta 14

Glottal Wolpertinger (multi-fragmented composition, commission for documenta 14, 2017)
Jan St. Werner, composition, computer
Aaron Dessner, guitar
Bryce Dessner, prerecorded guitar
Glottal Wolpertinger deconstructs the principle of the musical drone, the timelessly dense, continuously spreading mass of sound, and uses idiosyncratic spatial movements to break with the linear narrative of music. Eight microtonally tuned feedback channels were broadcast via the documenta 14 Radio Program “Every Time A Ear Di Soun” for a period of ten weeks. On July 6, 2017, the feedback channels converged with each other during a performance of Jan St. Werner together with guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner in Athens. The eight compositional fragments each consisted of a continuously modulated feedback based on the harmonic spectrum of Glottal Wolpertinger. The feedback channels resonated at the tuning frequencies of 44 Hz, 133 Hz, 339 Hz, 527 Hz, 826 Hz, 1014 Hz, 1552 Hz, 1889 Hz, 2.3 kHz, 4.6 kHz, 7.15 kHz, 10.14 kHz, 14.873 kHz, and 29.45 kHz. The spatial configuration of these frequencies inside the Romantso space resulted in oscillations, binaural pulses, and sound artifacts that became more or less palpable during the course of the performance depending on the position of the listener. In this way traditional techniques of orientation in a musical experience were pushed beyond the limits of comprehension.

Photo of Jan St. Werner and Aaron Dessner by Stathis Mamalakis – Listening Space, documenta 14, Athens, 2017

Glottal Wolpertinger artwork by Paul McDevitt

Print excerpt from Mousse Magazine #58

documenta14 listening space

documenta14 public radio

A 46 minute collage of the multiple incarnations of Glottal Wolptertinger was commissioned by Deutschlandfunk Kultur

A stereo version of Glottal Wolpertinger called Glossal Wolptertinger as a white CD-R with stamped date, white screen-printed cover on black card sleeve and printed insert plus a limited number of t-shirts and tote bags were released via farbvision.