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prepared spaces


he musical trilogy prepared spaces, published in 2013 as a double-CD, is a collection of conceptual improvisations, which were recorded in in a former underground water-reservoir in Berlin.

For several months the main focus of preparation was extensive engagement with the peculiar atmospheric and acoustic properties of the underground “Reinwasserhallen”. Quite soon it became obvious that it would not be possible to perform
prepared spaces with an audience at this special location as even the faintest noises such as slight coughing, sand crunching underfoot or even the crinkling of clothing or a growling stomach amplify extremely in this surrounding and would distract the focus from the musical performance. Furthermore the “Reinwasserhallen” lose some of their special acoustic characteristics with every additional listener, so that a bigger audience would experience but a fraction of the original fascinating sound.
Subsequently many efforts were made to faithfully capture the sound in this delicate setting, which was later realized satisfactorily by a sophisticated special setup of multiple microphones, so that in August 2011
prepared spaces was premiered and recorded without an audience.

The recordings have not been reworked with synthetic reverb or overdubs.

Modern equipment was implemented solely to capture the impressive acoustic properties of the subterranean halls (called „Reinwasserhallen”) as authentic as possible.

CD 1

prepared spaces for FUJARA No. 1-16

CD 2

prepared spaces for HULUSI No. 1-5

prepared spaces for MBIRA No. 1-3

With Part I – III of the trilogy prepared spaces Marco Trochelmann confronts three instruments (FUJARA/Europe, HULUSI/Asia, MBIRA/Africa) with the extreme acoustic characteristics of a former Berlin water reservoir. In this special surrounding the richness of partials and overtones unfolds in an impressive way. The natural long reverberation times of this special location enable him as a soloist to generate an intriguing polyphony, which could not have been realized in another environment and could only partially be attained with the help of technical equipment.

The extremely long-lasting decay of tones and sounds has a profound influence on the time perception of the listener, which could be labeled “acousticly evoked deceleration”. The unleashed tones and overtones develop a fascinating life of their own. They seem to dance through the vaults and randomly merge and disengage.
Marco Trochelmann moderates a musical event, which ebbs and flows between the instrument, the room and himself by giving highly diverse impetus, flooding the room with sound only to await unfolding events, which significantly determines the further musical development.


It is equally charming and sobering that these mundane walls, with the use of special light, appear to be a sacred site. The staggering acoustics are only an unintended side effect of a former functional construction, which can only be experienced, because the original features are no longer required.
This room, which used to be filled with fresh drinking water, has been empty for decades and is only occasionally flooded with voices, sounds and music. Most of the time not even a waft of air can be heard or felt.
It is one of the most silent places, maybe the most silent place in Berlin I have ever been to. For me this old subterranean water-reservoir on the outskirts of the city – this place of utter silence – was like a well in the desert, a haven of tranquility amidst the ever increasing hustle and bustle of the restless megacity - a place of true acousticly evoked deceleration.

If you release music into this room it is as if you could float on the sound. For several seconds it flows around you as though you are bathing in sound.
Using the ears consciously to explore the sound wafting initially (as the tone released lasts so long you can perceive it very intensely) you notice that the sounds become alive in their spaciousness and that you can, as it were, roam around in them by concentrating on one or the other vibration within the rich spectrum.

At times it seems that you are being lifted up – just in the moment when the flutist’s breath subsides the tone hardly abates and continues to pulsate with almost constant volume for several seconds. It seems like acoustic slow-motion. Instead of fading away – as you would naturally expect – when the flutist stops playing, the tone released a while ago, lingers between the walls. Reflected by the humid concrete walls it starts developing an amazing life of its own, dances through the rooms and invites the musician to engage in a duet.

As an afterimage “imprinted” on the retina each tone fades out gradually and tentatively leads the listener into silence.
This gradual fading into the obscurity of silence is seamed with a great variety of tonal reflections. Everyone listening carefully enters more deeply into the silence and will be able to discern more subtle nuances.
Simultaneous pulsing of different overtones in their respective velocity – waves wandering from left to right and from the front to the rear – and this, long after the tone has escaped the control of the musician.

The silent periods are the spaces, in which the previously initiated music unfolds.

Often, in the end, if you listen until a tone fades out, you are not sure whether you can still hear something or not, because the memory of the sound starts to fill the silence.

Composed and interpreted by
Marco Trochelmann

Sound engineered by
Jürgen Kramer

Mixed and premastered by
Marco Trochelmann - tonfinder

Mastered by
Peter Weinsheimer - PICAROmedia

Photos by
André Micklich

Graphic design by
Marco Trochelmann
Kristin Huckauf

Translations by
Benjamin Gente

Produced by
tonfinder 2013