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luv016: Crown Heights by Stephane Leonard

About Crown Heights

Crown Heights, the second LuvSound release from Berliner Stephane Leonard, is another gorgeously balanced acousmatic offering. This time Stephane has utilized field recordings culled from his Brooklyn apartment and processed them into a sound world that is at once an exploded look at the sounds of his apartment and something wholly other.

About Stephane Leonard

Stephane Leonard is a founding member of the naivsuper artist collective that publishes and promotes modern composers, adventurous music, art and books and the naivsuper Film collective which makes films, music videos, documentaries and video installations.

His work has been shown in exhibitions in Berlin, New York, Hamburg, Bremen, Groningen, Neubrandenburg, Bergen, Vienna, Zürich, Massachusetts, Bangkok and the Kirgisien National Museum for Fine Arts.

Crown Heights


Stephane Leonard

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  1. Crown Heights

Artist Statement

Crown Heights / Brooklyn (2005 - 2007)

This is a piece based entirely on manipulated and original sound recordings from, in, and around my apartment in Crown Heights (Brooklyn, NY) in 2005.

The basic materials are recordings of non-obvious sounds: "silence," or silent moments and background noise. The human ear, or more correctly, the human brain tends to blend most of these sounds out. Because these sounds constantly entertain the sub consciousness, it becomes difficult and interesting to access and understand them. Sounds like: the bedroom ventilator, the downstairs air conditioner, the crackles and creaking of the old staircase, vague sounds of the neighbors through the walls, the dogs in the backyard and the street sounds of playing children, passing cars, far away horns and airplanes. Moreover I investigated the inside of my drawer, the sound underneath my mattress and behind the heater with my microphone.

All these recordings were transferred into my music software based on MAX/MSP, and were then run through several different processes and manipulations. Afterward, the results of these sessions and the original sounds were carefully assembled and brought back together in the composition.

The idea behind the manipulation is to challenge the recordings that at first sight seem to lack tones and structure. I started by turning up their volume and adding as much gain (amplification) as possible to push the sounds towards their limits, to enlarge and enrich them. Later I also changed their pitch and frequency, turned them around, ring-modulated them and looped different parts of them.

This piece is the soundtrack for my Brooklyn summer in 2005. That year it was included in an exhibition of sound art called "Unsilently" at the Contemporary Artist Center in North Adams Massachusetts. For this particular installation the piece was 30 minutes long. In 2007 I shortened it to 13.22 minutes.