Andreas Oldörp is serving green tea on a tray that is equipped with a tube to drain the spilled water. One little cup after the other we nip the tasty fluid while sound waves of his singing flames wash through his studio. Oldörp is the leading expert on the effect of singing flames which origins can be traced back to an instrument called pyrophone that was introduced by french Frédéric Kastner in 1876. Basically a flame burns on a nozzle half way in a glastube and lets the air column in the tube oscillate. What is easy to say is very hard to translate into a functional instrument. Oldörp started in an artist group around the Fluxus artist Henning Christiansen, who did sound installations with Joseph Beuys, where he soon got sensible for – what he calls – the transportation of a room into another via the medium of sound. Not much later he became bored of the use of sine generators to impose standing waves, interferences and acoustic knots into rooms. He started experimenting with organ pipes and singing flames, which took painstaking efforts to let those flames sing in a way he wanted. 20 years later he impragnated countless rooms with the seismic tones of his fire instruments. He calls his work a sound-energetic charging of places – and as we sit and sip another tea the sound waves infiltrate the subconscious, a kind of meditative state of lucidity evokes. But only a turn of the screwdriver on the valve of the hydrogen supply and the loudness increases, the tone gets a bit more harsh and the subtle atmosphere changes into an agressive hiss of some kind of turbo-jet. There are plenty of possible tunings of a room – Oldörp is a sensitive person that carefully listens to the surroundings he is confronted with and places his glastubes and pipes according to what the location is offering him. The listener is left to make his own decisions, like watching a monochromatic painting of Yves Klein the recipient can move around and experince an always changing prism of sound colours. His sound installations are location specific, there is no way of moving an installation to another place. In the same way Oldörp is reluctant to record his sound work, because – he states – the sound can only be appreciated in the room the installation was designed for. I asked Andreas to let me do a sound recording of his singing flames for my fire pattern project, so here is an excerpt of what I used with kind permission of Andreas. It is a very close micing of his singing flames, the sound effect in the installations is very different from this.
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Fire and Frost Patternreleased at "Gruenrekorder"