Unveiling the Sonic Tapestry: Udo Volfram's Journey Through Achronological Soundscapes (1997-1999)

 We are delighted to warmly invite you to read a personal text authored by Udo Volfram. Together with Udo, we will journey back to the years 1997-1999, exploring the behind-the-scenes of the creation of the 'F O R M A N T' album. It's not just a story of a musical journey but also the deep reflections of the artist. Get ready for a true feast of sounds and emotions!

P.S. Don't forget that the album will be available digitally worldwide from February 13th!"

Front cover of the album FORMANT

The year 2023 marked a turning point in my creative endeavors. The promised and long-awaited musical comeback, returning to compositional and generative practices, did not dissipate into thin air (as previous declarations might have suggested) and became a reality. I initiated my sonic transmigration by organizing my private magnetic archive (reels and cassettes) and spending several days listening to what had survived in the collections. I also reached numerous digital music recordings created while working with the first computers, ZX Spectrum 128k and PC Pentium, acquired in 1995. The most interesting were the mutations resulting from two environments in which I oscillated at that time. The analog, taking up 1/3 of my room in a residential block, and the digital, using widely available software like Music Maker and Acid. The sonic discoveries of the latter captured my attention. Initially, I selected 4 to 5 recordings, which I passed through gates and noise correctors from online software. Later, additional recordings were added, and together with Piotr Krompiewski, we meticulously refined each one.

Udo Volfram photo by Natalia Wierzbicka

Today's tools allow for almost anything with minimal effort. From cleaning recordings from tapes to boosts and normalization of the overall sound. The resurrected sequences of recordings entwined my post-Cold War sensitivity. After all, it was sketch material, a kind of starting construct (bass-drum), prepared for further modifications and musical embellishments. However, in my assessment, these tracks already carried certain values and emotions. The atmosphere of numerous sleepless nights spent processing material, sampling my own samples, sounds, settings, building the character of the piece – all of that was present. After adding vocals or orchestral embellishments, the final step was to place it in the album. Unfortunately, my brother's death in 1999 paralyzed my broadcasting-receiving impulses. Therefore, in a creative melancholy, I escaped into a safer visual dialogue. Listening to all of this years later and restoring those recordings is a rather important process for me. Despite efforts to enrich them with additional meaningful sounds or vocals, I couldn't find a place for them, leaving them as they sounded in 1999. Therefore, I present this collection of aesthetics without unnecessary additives, molded from my youthful fascination with the physics of music and the "spine-chilling" charge of the battery, along with the soothing release of their potential. These two extreme worlds always tug at me. Motoric and ethereal or dirty and dapper, are just a few coeval dualisms close to my observations.

This is how the album F O R M A N T - a compilation of 9 recordings established in the years 1997-1999, and arranged in achronological order, was born. I present the material for listening without the use of modern engineering or the commonly applied supersonic surgery today. Only the mentioned noise detection and necessary normalization (due to the quite diverse levels of recordings) have been applied here. As a musical addition, I include the cover project featuring the image of a Welder, referring to the Ant Man. This is a reference to my years of labor in two metallurgical factories in Lublin, Ursus, and Sipma. In both of these plants, I was merely a worker ant in a peculiar world of machines and the sounds flowing from them. They shaped me and my musical fascinations while fulfilling the factory plan, implemented just moments before the fall of communism in Poland.

Udo Volfram, 2024

1999 Udo Volfram
2024 Rebeat Digital GmbH


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