Car Ax

by Dan Senn
Sonata (see video) Headphones recommended.
Video with Improvisation in Sonata Form

duration 11:00

Car Ax Sonata is a chance recording following a car accident in a  small American city.

Capturing the obvious on film is mostly reportage but as you prolong a shot, move in for detail, shoot the surrounding environment, the mundane actions of public officials, include those viewing the event,, etc., the piece is incrementally lifted from a snap shot to a story, from a story with manikin profiles to a one of ethnographic and historical implications. By extracting the sound, adding the irrelevant, the richness of the common place is revealed where nothing is simple, shallow or wraith.

The sound for this work is from wrinkled vellum performed by the artist.

In the title "sonata" translates to "sounding” but also to its sound structure in four movements. These were taken from about 20 improvisations, all rhythmically dense and further intensified here by simple file alterations. Signaling the start of each section is a flanging effect, a rocket-like sound caused by two “identical” files being played simultaneously with a frequency offsets of 1-4 cents*. Simpler still are settings for stereo placement and depth position, the same for each track/section., The pitch offset also causes one of the two "simultaneous" sound files to be elongated increasing the overall textural richness and density. These very basic manipulations result in a unified, if clamorous, effect meant used to lift, focus and frame the visual action.” DS, December 3, 2020
* 1 cent = 1/100 of a semi-tone (half step).
Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia artist working in music composition and production, kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx festivals, and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator, Caroline Senn. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and languages depending upon the aesthetic joust at hand. Dan is cofounder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia Composers of Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx media festivals in Prague. (read more).

Purchase a 4K version of this film.