live at kwia

electroacoustic live performance for field recordings and glass bottles
cassette & digital — 34:22
published by forms of minutiae

Performed live for Weich, a queer ambient event series at Kwia (Berlin, DE) in December 2021.

Amid winter, on one of the last nights of 2021, a group of people gather in the welcoming womb of a listening bar. Bordered by tiled walls and embraced by a simulated fog, cradled listeners soon forgo outer fluctuations. From a distance, dogs’ barks and bats’ calls reverberate into the space, Pablo Diserens’ concert has begun. What unfolds next is a weaving of biophonic field recordings with hums of blown and stroke glass bottles. The emerging electroacoustic ecoscape oscillates between animal stridulations and Helmholtz resonances. Wavering wind pulses and mirroring clangs intertwine with ultrasonic drones bringing the audience into oneiric realms. Ants, grasshoppers, and crickets infuse the room with vespertine warmth. Windows ooze with condensation. Winter seems far, as if morphed into a balmy summer night. A new landscape materializes, birthed by the set of frequencies at play. Buccal air gently throbs in and out of the glass vessels in glistening gestures. Pablo blows into their empty bottles one last time before handing the stage to a sizzling underwater mixture of rain drops and insectean accents.

The recorded fragment stops here, yet, that night, the formed sonic window into this temporary landscape pursued its course. The auditory encounters that followed now only exist in the hazy memories of wintertide listeners.

Special thanks to the animals that have lent me their voices, and warm thanks to Madelyn Byrd (Slowfoam), Diane Barbé, Mathieu Bonnafous, Elisa Cucinelli, Kwia, and Tomoko Sauvage.

— sounds, photograph and design by pablo diserens
— mastered by mathieu bonnafous
— tape production by tapedub (berlin)
— performing photograph by Elisa Cucinelli
— formats: cassette & digital
— published by forms of minutiae — fom04 — july 2022


“The sound of a ghoul in a china shop, live at kwia suspends: its own brittle equilibrium, an attentive observer's breathing rhythms, time itself. Recorded live in December 2021 by Berlin sound artist Pablo Diserens, this 34 minute piece weighs the natural and the artificial, then tilts into the sublime. Diserens has made magic from glass before, memorably on 2020's for scarpa's fountains, but slides into a deeper gear here, sidelining somewhat their established field recordist mode. live at kwia begins as a duet for diced [bats] calls and a distant dog's barking, looped and echoing; a river splashes between them. Having erected this frame, Diserens introduces adjustments: compressing these animal sounds, altering their rhythms, threading in breathy acoustic piping and metallic effects - melodies and countermelodies that ground the situation. The great outdoors gives way to something more interior, with audience chatter sluiced gently under a sustained, glassine ringing, a churning quaver pregnant with tension. It swells up, contracts and then flutters while the sounds of glass tentatively touching glass trickle out like candies from a burst pinata. The effect is eerie and luxurious, shelves of haunted champagne flutes and carafes and dessert plates caught in the hesitant act of mingling. Then - just like that - we're back outside, tinnitus-stricken, dragging something through leaves; serenading crickets ascend from element to main attraction, joined then overtaken by hiccuping [glass bottles blowings]. More disembodied voices wash in and out of the mix, impassive, enriching and complicating the overall sense of place, as Diserens summons a sonic solar eclipse, leaning at long last into an astringent dissonance both at odds with the proceeding journey and, somehow, wholly earned” The Wire, Issue 462 (Raymond Cumming)

“The sound art practiced at Berlin's kwia, lovingly documented by the label f—o—m (forms of minutiae), owes some of its inspiration to Japanese environmental music, but in a contemporary sense and with a specifically queer twist. A particularly successful document is the tape live at kwia by f—o—m curator Pablo Diserens, who has woven an exquisite half-hour sound experience out of field recordings [and glass bottles].” Groove (translated from german)

“Heterotopia is a philosophical concept used by Michel Foucault, in order to describe places functioning in nonhegemonic conditions and are simultaneously physical and mental. By his definition, a heterotopia is a physical approximation of an imaginary utopia or a parallel space that makes utopia possible somewhere else or a space within a space. That last notion describes Live At Kwia and as such, a heterotopia is unfolding in my ears! [live at kwia] is captured in a rather peculiar way- as the “space” brought in by the field recordings, is transmitted inside a room, a space (a sonic field) within a space, a perfect example of heterotopia. Deep listening sessions, the practice proposed by Pauline Oliveros, are an essential key in evaluating and understanding the album, because music creates a cathartic condition in which the script of its sonic identity is re-written, with each listening yielding different results. live at kwia starts as a pure and untouched field recording, but rapidly evolves into something more complex, more sonically charged. It is maximal, yet stunningly minimal in some parts. A sound walk orchestrated and directed by Pablo Diserens, without giving a map or hint along the way. Organic and electronic sounds appear and disappear progressively; the atmosphere is colourful, blooming and natural, smelling soil and moisture. An enigmatic diary of an excursion to an unknown forest. A pilgrimage, Zen, clear and absolute!!” Music Machine

© Pablo Diserens — 2020 →  2024