Electric Rain Krems

Sound installation.
Loudspeakers and electronics.
Exhibited at Klangraum Krems, 9 June – 2 October 2022.

Rain as a sounding and climatic phenomenon is the starting point for the site-specific sound installation Electric Rain Krems.

In 2019 I was contacted by Jo Aichinger from Klangraum Krems in Austria. He had heard about Electric Rain and asked if I could do something similar in Krems. I first built a digital model of the exhibition space, and then travelled to Krems to examine the space. After a day of examinations, it was obvious that this space had great potential, and we went ahead with the project. After two years of delays due to the corona pandemic, the installation was realized in 2022.

With Electric Rain Krems (2022), I continued the work from Electric Rain (2018) in Oslo. Klangraum Krems is a space for sound art and music in the Minoritenkirche, a former monastery church from the 13th century. The Minoritenkirche is located in Stein an der Donau, an old medieval city located along the Danube River. The acoustics of this space is radically different from that in the exhibition space of Atelier Nord from 2018. The area is three times as large, and the ceiling height increased from three to fourteen metres. The space in Krems is made of stone, while the space in Oslo was made of wood.

Together, these elements create a space with a large and open sound, combined with a long reverberation time. The space is divided into three parts, two aisles and a central nave, where the nave has more than double the ceiling height of the two aisles. This leads to large acoustic differences between the various parts of the space.

With this new space as the starting point, a completely new work was built from scratch. The divisions of the space provide natural acoustic separations in which the sound can interact. The large space built in stone has a long reverberation time, which means that, for example, transient sounds behave completely differently than in a dry space. At the same time, the large ceiling height means that problematic resonances are avoided, and the sound appears clear and distinct.

Rain and water have been important for the area along the Danube River, a cultural landscape with roots going back to prehistoric times. When we move the sound of rain from the agricultural areas on the outside, into a monastery church from the 13th century, a separate layer of potential interpretations arises. Rain is the result of large climate systems, but it is also a complex sound phenomenon. In the installation Electric Rain Krems, this sounding dimension is examined through ninety-six individually controlled speakers that fill the space and present the listener with an all-encompassing sound field. The sound field is coloured by the acoustic properties of the space, and changes as you move through the old monastery church.

Electric Rain Krems was made with support from Music Norway.

The exhibition is produced by Klangraum Krems and opened on 9 June 2022.

Technology developed and produced at Notam by Asbjørn Blokkum Flø, Thom Johansen and Hans Wilmers.

Thanks to Stefan Bauer, Franco Gatty, Liselotte Grand, Paula Haslinger, Michael Huber, Ane Melhuus Jenssen, Fabian Lang, David Lang, Henning Linaker and Ernst Steindl.

Electric Rain Krems is dedicated to Jo Aichinger (1955-2021).

More about Electric Rain Krems:
Flø, Asbjørn Blokkum 2023. The Making of Electric Rain Krems
Schedlmayer, Nina 2022. Wolkenbruch in der Basilika. (German only)

More about Electric Rain in Oslo (2018):

Video, sound, and editing: Asbjørn Blokkum Flø
Camera assistant: Fabian Lang

Photo: Asbjørn Blokkum Flø.