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GOD 10

Winfried Ritsch

Picture LP

Winfried Ritsch, composition/concept




This release turns out to be the best way to celebrate little GODrec anniversary:

the tenth release of the label!


Woodscratcher (Scratching Wood) is a composition and sound generating machine from Austrian composer, media-artist, sound-sculptor and performer, Winfried Ritsch.

Already known as collaborator in different projects with Bernhard Lang (pieces from his series Differenz/Wiederholung, Trike), Peter Ablinger (Klavierautomat), Ritsch created “my own dedication to noise pieces of experimental music from 70s onwards”.



 This machine cuts a 2-5cm thick disk of a wooden trunk in a circular line along the growth rings of the wood, which makes this nothing else then monumental turntable.

At the same time, the wood is amplified with four pickups (sensors) and the signals picked from microphones are spatialized over four loudspeakers in the corners of the room which spans acoustically the slice of the wood. This scratching in the concert is done until the inner part of the disk falls to the ground and the piece ends.



 The movement of the cutting tool behaving like an over-sized record player needle, has the performing function and is an allusion of the production of records, as well as playing them. The woodscratcher pretends to extract and play the information which resides in the piece of wood cutting it in an excessive performance. The wood is heard as acoustic material with inhomogeneities annual rings by superimposing a loops of the cutting process.

With the progression of the cutting process the sounds evolves of the pieces in more and more rubbing and squeezing sounds. The audio signal filter functions of the wood is heard like repeatedly changing formants, almost imaging voices in the noise.




With this performances not only the machine as performer is broached as the issue, also the exploration of unknown material is an artistic statement as also defining the structured and timing of the piece. The aesthetics lies in the excessive performance beyond feasible by a human actor or musician and also, links the many possible associations and associative to the world of music performance. One of them is the sound based on the noise of the experimental music pieces since the 70s and another with ideas of Herbert Bruen's computer music project sawdust from that time, when the rejection of oscillators as a tone generator for free definition of single events down to the scale of samples as a liberation of note-oriented Music generation.


The transition in algorithmic composition to the composition of processes as instrument like done in live composition is expanded to the construction of a mechanical machine which is the live composer. The main aspect of this is that the process does the composing and the machine is composed for executing the process of extracting the piece out of the disc of wood, destroying it and defining the audible result of the piece. So composer becomes a mechanical engineer and inventor of machines and the musician the operator as machinist.


The picture vinyl release is vinyl simulation of woodscratcher: a vinyl record has a picture of a wood on itself and recorded sound of scratching the wood