Earthquake Sounds

Volume 1: Kobe 16/01/1995, 20:46 UT

CD (numbered, unlimited edition)


Earthquake Sounds

From the CD’s cover text:
“This CD introduces a collection of seismograms recorded after the 1995 Kobe earthquake which have been time-compressed under different criteria in order to render seismological data audible to the human ear. Using the technique of audification, the movements of the earth can be heard and analysed acoustically.
(i) Aspects of Acceleration [1–8]: The recordings taken by the seismological station Matsushiro (MAJO, Japan) of the Kobe earthquake on January 16, 1995, 20:46 UT, with a magnitude of 6.8 MS, has been time-compressed using eight different factors. It demonstrates the effect of transposition on the audio experience. For the purposes of scientific investigation, the acceleration needs, on the one hand, to be sufficiently high to provide a systematic overview of the days and weeks during which the recording was made; on the other hand, it must be low enough to fully reveal the acoustic characteristics of an earthquake. In the following, we use the factor 2,200 as a rule (cf. track 5).
(ii) Aspects of Location [9–14]: Six earthquakes from the Kobe region recorded by the MAJO station were collated. The specific characteristics of each earthquake can be heard.
(iii) Aspects of Space [15–23]: Major events like the Kobe earthquake can be recorded all over the globe. A series of seismograms from widely distributed recordings of this earthquake are audified. Here you can hear how the sound is dispersed when it travels over a long distance, while the general characteristics are nevertheless preserved.
(iv) Aspects of Time [24–36]: Any earthquake prediction requires close study of the temporal development of the Earth’s sound. Our samples from MAJO are recordings taken over 24 hours, which were compressed to about 40-seconds duration for audification. Close earthquakes can be heard as short clicks, long-distance earthquakes as a deep rumbling. The major event of January 16 is followed by many aftershocks.
Note : All samples employ only the vertical component of recording (BHZ).”

The GEMA (German Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights) commented on June 12, 2001: “From this CD and your commentaries it is not possible to judge to what extent the recorded sounds follow compositional structures which are the expression of a personal act of intellectual creation.”

Distributed by gelbe MUSIK (Berlin), A-Musik (Cologne), Buchhandlung Walther König (Cologne), Artware (Wiesbaden)