Herbert Eimert - Epitaph für Aikichi Kuboyama CD 26501

Herbert Eimert - Epitaph für Aikichi Kuboyama CD 26501
Composition for speaker and spoken sounds (1957–1962)

Sechs Studien. Electronic music (1962)

In view of recent events, especially in Japan, Herbert Eimert's piece “Epitaph für Aikichi Kuboyama” has taken on a sad topicality today: When in 1954 the first hydrogen bomb, the so-called Bikini bomb, was tested in the South Pacific, the Japanese fishing boat Fikuryumara was approximately 130 km from the epicentre. All fishermen on board required months of medical treatment; the fisherman Aikichi Kuboyama died of radiation poisoning after five months and became the first long-distance fatality of the nuclear age. The poetic epitaph for Kuboyama, or more precisely the sound material drawn from the inscription spoken in German, forms the basis of the present tape composition: “Of all the sound spectra known to us, that of the spoken word is not only the richest and most complex, but also the one most similar to electronically produced sounds.” (Eimert) By using electronic equipment such as loudspeakers, tape recorders, amplifiers, and filters the stream of spoken words is always present under the surface as though the inscription on the gravestone constantly flows past the listener’s ears in ever-shifting transformations of sound.

Eimert’s “Sechs Studien” [Six Studies], composed immediately after “Epitaph”, was created from the same source material. In contrast to “Epitaph” “Sechs Studien” uses only abstract musical sounds: that is, sounds in whose spectrum the spoken word can no longer be recognized.