Lecture Performance


06/10/2013 - 21:00



  • Free entrance


sonic blue /travel

sonic blue

It was clear from the start of the composition process in February 2012 that “sonic blue” would be a key work in Angélica Castelló’s oeuvre. The 40-year-old composer, flutist and electronic sound designer from Mexico, who has for several years now been living in Vienna, embarked on an unusual journey with musikprotokoll co-curator Susanna Niedermayr, who is also the author of this feature. On the Lofoten archipelago, an island chain along Norway’s northern coastline, they met the biologist and bioacoustics researcher Heike Vester, who in 2005 founded the organisation Ocean Sounds in the fishing village Henningsvær. Vester led Castelló to the whales found in the waters around the Lofoten islands. The field recordings and sounds they collected on these boat trips provide the acoustic basis for “sonic blue”.

Under the Banner of Environmental Protection

Ocean Sounds is dedicated to the research of marine mammals and the protection of the marine environment. At the mouth of Vestfjord the oil industry continues to expand. During seismic surveys undertaken to find new oil and gas fields underwater detonations of compressed air create shockwaves. The vibrations that are reflected back provide information to map the location, density, shape and composition of the rock layers, but they are also a massive intervention in the natural soundworld of aquatic life.

Deep in Many Respects

With “sonic blue” the musician creates her own imaginary underwater world that immerses the audience into the great sea of sound produced by her subgreatbass recorder, Castelló’s main instrument. The composition process of this piece is an examination of the profound in yet another respect, for to Angélica Castelló the sea also symbolises the subconscious.

The feature documents the unusual process of creation involved in the making of a composition that was premiered at the ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst festival on October 6.

Heike Vester picks Angélica Castelló and Susanna Niedermayr up with her boot at Svolvær.Straightaway, the first meeting is recorded. (f.l.t.r.: Angélica Castelló, Heike Vester, Susanna Niedermayr)The first stop is at Kabelvåg and a protest meeting against the booming oil industry at the mouth of Vestfjord. Heike Vester ties her boat up to MS Kallinika, the ship of the Norwegian environmental organisation Bellona.Between two musical performances the activists discuss the effects of the oil industry on the marine ecosystem with a large group of politicians.Greenpeace representatives also attend the protest meeting.
They travelled to Kabelvåg aboard the Arctic Sunrise.An astonishing sight at the protest meeting: not only vegan burgers are sold but also whale burgers.Sitting together aboard the Kallinika. In the centre: Richie Herbst. He accompanied Susanna Niedermayr and Angélica Castelló to Lofoten and was most helpful not only with the photo documentation. In 2014, Herbst will also release “sonic blue” on his label Interstellar Records.In an interview conducted below deck Sigurd Enge from Bellona and Heike Vester talk about the effects of the seismic surveys and oil drillings on the marine ecosystem. You can listen to the interview on the musikprotokoll website.Our actual destination: Henningsvær, a fishing village located on three tiny islands off the southern tip of Austvågøy, the largest of the Lofoten islands, and just north of the polar circle. They are connected via bridges.
 The landscape is characterised by wooden racks that are also known as Lofoten’s cathedrals. Every winter masses of cod are brought in by the fishermen and dried on these racks by the cold air and wind.Susanna Niedermayr and Angélica Castelló interview Heike Vester in her office and talk about her scientific research and Ocean Sounds. You can find this interview on the musikprotokoll website as well.At the mouth of Henningsvær a new exhibition and research centre of Ocean Sounds is set up in collaboration with the Arctic Hotel …… and is to be opened with a festival in the summer of 2014.A cooperation with the nearby cod museum is also in the works.
This is how cod is freeze-dried.Angélica Castelló behind the bar and in front of a collection of old radios and navigation equipment. Two hydrophones Heike Vester uses to record the communication and sounds of the marine mammals.The big day: under an azure sky and with a sea like glass Angélica Castelló, Heike Vester, Susanna Niedermayr and Richie Herbst meet a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins and spend several hours in their company.Susanna Niedermayr and Angélica Castelló with their recording equipment.
Dolphins …Dolphins …… and once more dolphins.Angélica Castelló listens to the sea and the dolphins. She will use the recording for her composition “sonic blue”.Angélica Castelló talking to Eva Roither, the co-producer of Ö1 Hörbilder, at the pre-presentation of the feature “sonic blue” at KlangTheater Wien …
… where a few days before the musikprotokoll festival Angélica Castelló also performed part of her composition “sonic blue”.


Susanna Niedermayr (A)


Auftragsprojekt musikprotokoll. Im Rahmen von ECAS – Networking Tomorrow‘s Art For An Unknown Future, working period 3 „Ubiquitous Art and Music. Art, Sound and the Everyday.“