Friday 14 September 2007

The Final Cuts

As well as the final album artwork above - mixed, made and distributed with 24 hours - we also thought we'd give you our own best of Sproutbaurecord for those of you with busy lives. We know how it can be. So, in no particular order, our greatest hits:


Music for A Found Sink
Wailing Doors


We're Digging
Wir Weben


Stairwell 48
The Drilling Song

Wednesday 5 September 2007

The last track!

We nearly forgot! The last track is a creation myth story about the Sproutbau told by members of the Sproutbau. Check out the final sound - do you recognise it??? Now this really is the end. Thanks again to the Sprout and especially the organising team for making it an incredible month!


Sproutbaurecord is Over

We're now back in sunny Spain after an incredible month in Bremen. We had a great time and we hope you enjoyed listening. Post us some comments if you have any feedback - good, bad or ugly! Many thanks!

Tuesday 28 August 2007

The Temple of Rumours

The Temple of Rumours

This track is a collaboration with Riika and Katrin from the Sproutbau communications room. As well as collecting messages and acting as a super-creative networking place for Sproutbau members they have also been collecting Sproutbau rumours on a cutting edge Fisher Price recording machine. We worked with them to create our own Temple of Rumours. The track developed an early 90s cheesy house vibe after a Claudia Schiffer workout session here at the Sproutbau last night. The vocals are all done by Sproutbau members and range from incredible to earth-shattering doncha think? This is Sproutbaurecord in our mode of 'music by, for and about the community'.

NB We played the track out tonight and as yet no one has got into a scrap. We are all reasonable people.

The Drilling Song

The Drilling Song

The Drilling Song is a metaphysical tribute to all the drilling and hammering going on at the Sproutbau right now. Four days until the Betonale and the walls are coming down. The rhythm track is made entirely of sounds of walls being collapsed, holes being cast and rubble hitting the floor. The lyrics deal in a more metaphorical currency:

Been drilling time forever
through the walls around my mind
Hammer and saw and I see it more
the light was never there
Break it
Smash it
Shake it
Crash it
Drill it
Screw it
Crash right
Through it

Sunday 26 August 2007

Sproutbaurecord on the Radio

Here's a radio interview from last week with Sproutbau house manager Daniel, telenovella superstar Sonka and Dan and Trish. Hear it:

Here and here.



On Friday a group of Sproutbau residents formed the impromptu Baukestra. With found instruments from the building, including a kettle, a washrack, a plastic tube, a bunch of door handles and assorted chairs and stools, we blew up a mighty storm of sounds. We also had help from some Tenever kids who made more noise than anyone. Great work! So the building spoke through us. We wanted to keep the recording in the truest spirit of the original noise so its presented as played with only a few minor embelishments.

Friday 24 August 2007



During our first few days at Sproutbau we recorded a soundwalk around the building; all our first impressions of the site were put on tape. One of the strangest moments was finding a flat still full of someones belongings; amongst the stuff we found two cassette tapes. On one we found a compilation of obscure party songs from the 80s spliced with a recording of a man and child counting and some skits from German comedian obviously recorded from the television. We created from the tapes our own sound interpretation of the room. We wanted to create the feeling of a past still existing in the present; broadcast from a now empty room to be heard by those who want to hear. We hope this creates some kind of tribute to this stranger.

Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel

Two days ago a valued member of Sproutbau left for France. Julien was here for two weeks and became an integral part of the Sproutbau experience. He had the idea to do a track about the languages at Sproutbau and the occasional trouble with communication. We followed him around as he spoke to Sproutbau members about this notion. The track features some tongue twisters and Sproutbau people talking about incomprehesion. The track is presented to you here. So far we've tried to use only sounds of the Sproutbau as our backing tracks but the temptation to sample Led Zepplins Commucation Breakdown was too mush to resist, so sue us. So listen and let Julien explain the rest of the concept to you. The languages recorded are German (a variety of dialects), French, English (UK and USA), Polish, Yugoslavian, Reunion Creole, Albanian and maybe more. So thanks to Julien - whereever you are. The artwork today is all the Sproutbau folks favourite words.

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Kalimba Walk

Kalimba Walk

A ubiqutious part of life at Sproutbau is the extrordinary sound of the rooms and corridors. The echo of the building is unique, in part due to most flats having no furniture or carpets, and we decided to capture it through a sound walk with our kalimba. The kalimba is an African instrument with a special and pure tone. We walked around the building, through the garden and down to the enormous empty underground car park playing the instrument. We then arranged the piece to give listeners an impression of the variety of echoes and reverbs the building has to offer. We decided to file this under Haus Musik because although the Kalimba is ours the real star of the piece is the building itself.

STOP PRESS> We've replaced the arranged track with the original raw Kalimba Walk. We think it captures the atmosphere more successfully. See what you think.

Song For A Rainy Day

Song For A Rainy Day

Its been raining a lot here. This short piece features the rain falling in a variety of locations around Sproutbau; next to the stream, on the tarpulin that covers the growing Enchanted Tree and dripping on glass. The song is an excerpt from an unfinished piece about life here in Tenever.

Racing Up

Racing Up

Monday's track addresses the age-old question, "Lift or stairs?". Trish recorded herself running up the 7 flights of stairs here in building 48 and then recorded the same journey in the lift (or elevator if you're English is American). Guess who won? A victory for physical education.

Monday 20 August 2007

Happy Band of Japan!


We played in our other guise this Saturday as the Happy Band of Japan. We rocked it. A great audience and a great night. Here are some pics thanks to Sproutbau friend Occan.

We're Digging

We're Digging

We're Digging is our interpretation of a fine event here today at Sproutbau. Local archaeologist Sonja led a group of Sproutbau reidents, local children and other interested onlookers on a dig on the Sproutbau grounds. All the finds were meticuously collected and, not without some humour, catalogued and will be presented at the Betonale here in two weeks. Among the finds were sweet wrappers, cigarette ends and some antique batteries. A piece of vinyl was found that we reckoned on being at least 25 years old. Although probably a contrast to Sonja's usual work on Saxon graveyards, they were all interesting insights into thirty years of history at Tenever. So a thank you to Sonja and especially to the children of Tenever who worked from 9am until the final baging and tagging at 5pm. We hope we do you justice. No diggity? Dig it!

Sunday 19 August 2007

The Studio

Here's our HQ here at Sproutbau. We've also added some more pics of the recordings in action below.

And the Sproutbau is featured on Bremen TV again. See here and look for the piece about Kuntslers and Hippies. We're on there too!

Friday 17 August 2007

Wailing Doors

Wailing Doors

The latest Haus Musik, Wailing Doors, is the sound of the building crying. Everyday the doors are pushed open for people, things and animals but with each swing of steel the building howls its dying gasps. We recorded it and now present it to you. Like ancient whales of the oceans the old hinges speak through the decades.

Thursday 16 August 2007

Everything's Gonna Be Alright

Everything's Gonna Be Alright

Everything's Gonna Be Alright is a piece of light relief here at Sproutbau. Everyone is working hard, including us, and its been raining. Sometimes you need reminding everything is indeed gonna be alright. This phrase has become something of a catchphrase here due to our inhouse shaman Daniel. The backing track is from a tape we found in a former residents flat. We have no idea what the track is. The tape was very degraded so we had to remix it a little. With the boundless optimism of Sproutbau residents over the top we hope our cheesy little psychedelic disco brings a smile to your face.

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Concrete Goat Herd Dub

Concrete Goat Herd Dub

Today's piece is a homage to the goats here at Sproutbau. Sproutbau organiser Christina has been tending to three goats in a ground floor flat for the past week. We recorded them today with the hope of a goat chorus but they stayed silent the whole time. Even with the help of resident goat whisperer Patricia we only got a few bleets on tape. So the piece evolved into the story of the goats with the sounds of them scuttling, trotting and eating. We then fed the lot through the goat-dub machine and came up with Concrete Goat Herd Dub. The percussion sound is the Middle Eastern Dumbok drum which is commonly made from goat skin. We didn't tell the goats that.

Music For Doorbells

Music for Doorbells

This track is based on the sounds of the doorbells found in two of the four buildings here at Sproutbau. We walked through each of the buildings, recording the wide variety of tones, pitches and rings from the bells, working our way slowly through all the apartments. The final track uses bells in just one key, and explores the resonant effect of different spaces, and different connotations of certain sounds.

Monday 13 August 2007

Aldi Said

Aldi Said

The nearest sizable supermarket in Tenever is the budget chain Aldi. The store is still a kilometre from the buildings here at Sproutbau. At first Aldi refused to recognise the economical gain in building a store in the poorest and most deprived part of Bremen. In the end public will forced the issue and Aldi opened. Now it appears almost empty most days. Many Sproutbau residents buy groceries there so we decided to make our own short tribute to the place. We recorded our shopping trip - 17 minutes over Aldi - and spliced the sounds of the store and its customers, including us, with some word of wisdom given by Daiel during a tour of Tenever last week. Aldi - All you need for life.

Sunday Morning Silences

Sunday Morning Silences

Sunday Morning Silences was originally intended to be a tranquil piece reflecting the calm the Sproutbau exudes early on a sunny Sunday. However once we'd recorded 17 silences around the building - on the roof, in stairwells, in rooms - and listened back to them we realised how much background noise a city generates. Only with silence can you hear the ever present hum of the autobahn one kilometre away. The distant call of voices and the hum of electricity and other sources of power are illuminated. So instead this piece became a track about the sounds we all filter out - the hum at the borders, the white noise. We fed the silences through a simple frequency filter and certain sounds become even more clear; the lower frequencies especially. This track is definitely best played loud, but mind your speakers! Stay tuned for the dubstep remix.

Friday 10 August 2007

Haus So Grau

Haus So Grau

Today's track is a document of the beautiful voices of Sproutbau residents Aneka and Irena. Irena runs Sproutbau's singing class and Aneka is one of the key organisers of the project. The words were adapted by Aneka and Irena from a poem taken from a book of old German ballads found in a former residents flat. The lyrics deal with the emergence of new life from the grey of the disused concrete. The melody was also improvised today by the pair. It was suprisingly easy to realise and record and features the astouding reverb that many of the rooms here have. Thanks to the singers for their inspiration. Its a fitting tribute to the first week of Sproutbau.

Thursday 9 August 2007

Music for A Found Bathtub

Music For A Found Bathtub

The next in our Haus Musik series, Music For A Found Bathtub, explores the hidden depths of a regular bathtub. The tub was found in one of the deserted flats here and is being used as a container for a bread-making project at Sproutbau. Before starting their mammoth task of constructing a sofa from dough we engaged Tomas and Benedict into a round of drumming, with help from Trish and Daniel the architect. We took the resulting Song of the Bath and edited it into a lolling seaward vessel and then enrolled the help of other Sproutbau inhabitants Daniel and Dennis to recreate the aqualine contentment of bathing. We hope the finished piece conveys the joy of the bath and doesn't make you seasick.

Wednesday 8 August 2007

Wir Weben

Wir Weben

Wir Weben is the sounds of the sewing room here at Sproutbau. Trish recorded half an hour of the whirring and clanking of the machines and the soft chatter of the room which we then arranged into an intricate, mechanical sounding theme. We intended the piece to convey the rhythm of the machinery interpersed with the comments and under-the-breath concentration of the workers. The voiceover was suggested and read by Karena and is a poem written by Heinrich Heiner about the weavers of Germany during the early C19th. The original poem was a satirical swipe at the goverment of the time and a call for the weavers of Germany to build the country's death shroud. (Original poem here.) Whilst this gives the piece a darker undertone we hope it will encourage the people of Sproutbau to continue 'weaving' its future!

Thanks to the Sproutbau sewing team and Heinrich Heiner!

If you're interested in the glitchy sonics of the track then check out this article written by David Byrne a few years ago. It touches upon some of the themes we are exploring in Wir Weber:

What Is Blip Hop?

Tuesday 7 August 2007

Sproutbau Skills

Sproutbau Skills

This piece focuses on group discourse at Sproutbau. Yesterday we had a meeting where all the partipants introduced themselves, their projects and other skills. We recorded this and decided to focus on the points inbetween the group, the hidden texts and secret skills of those involved. Certain phrases feature more prominently but the overall impression is the rhythm of a group, the pauses and laughter that litter interaction. We want to the turn the spaces into the action.

And thanks to Marnic Circus for the artwork!

Monday 6 August 2007

Stairwell 48 (4Ever4Life)

Stairwell 48 (4Ever4Life)

Today's track is made up entirely of the sounds of the stairwell in our building, Number 48. The lyrics are taken from the grafitti on the walls. We decided to focus on 'love' as a theme. Maybe later we'll use some of the more juicy offerings on show. The rhythm track is the sound of the railings and handrails being hit with various metal objects, the guitar was recorded on the stairs and the stunning vocals are by Sproutbau participants Irina Radke and Yannick Radeke. The addition of actual Sproutbau participants has started an interaction with the inhabitants of the building which we hope will become a regular feature. We want Sproutbaurecord to be both a document of the building and an opportunity for its inhabitants to collaborate and make new music within its walls. Thank you to them!

Sunday 5 August 2007

Music for a Found Sink

Music For A Found Sink

Today is the first in our series, HausMusik. This sub-series in our project will be based entirely on the sounds of the building itself, with no other instrumental input. We want to explore the musicality hidden within this multistorey building - letting objects, fixtures, fittings and structures become instruments in their own right. We want to give the building a chance to speak its own rhythms and melodies, and through this draw attention to the sounds in the space surrounding us as inhabitants.

Today we walked through various rooms and passageways until we came upon a broken sink, half on the wall, half in pieces on the floor. One thing led to another, but after constructing a makeshift xylophone from pieces of the washbasin, we decided the sink's melody was so complex and beautiful it deserved a full days attention!

Dan and Trish on the TV

Click here for news item about Sproutbau featuring a short chat with Dan and Trish. Scroll down to the item named "K√ľnstler ziehen in leerstehendes Hochhaus"

Saturday 4 August 2007


Republik - 4th August 2007 CLICK HERE

The first Sproutrecord is here. Recorded on headphones and a minidisc with little fiddling. We haven't got any electricity so don't blame us eh? This track is purely based around raw sound recording with little active 'music' making. Why the bagpipes? Because at the opening of Sproutbau there was a bagpipe player. And who is the guy eulogising in fine German? He was the compere of the opening ceremony of the Sproutbau project. It made our job easy today. We combine the stirring Celtic drones with a similar German one and we have a suitably rousing introduction to our thang. Join the Sproutbau Republik!

Friday 3 August 2007

What is Sproutbaurecord?

Sproutbaurecord is an interactive project documenting – through sound recordings and visual art – an summer live-in experiment in creating individual living utopias in an empty multi-storey building (due for demolition in autumn 2007) in Bremen, Germany. (See for further details of the overall project.)

Dan and Trish will be recording a virtual ‘7-inch single’ a day through the month of August, designing individual covers for every track, and releasing the daily package on this blog in ‘copy-left’ format (free for anyone to use, change and distribute). They will be working with and fostering the Sproutbau group dynamic, capturing residents’ experiences and moments in sonic and visual form, turning the everyday sounds of the building itself and artists at work – hammers, machines, conversations – into musical tracks. The transformed ‘field recordings’ will both document and reflect the experience of a temporary community forming and defining itself in relation to a specific physical space.

Sproutbaurecord will be produced in accordance with Dan and Trish’s version of a media utopia, encouraging and fostering a direct line between producer and listener where creative results are free for all to access, experience and alter according to their needs. They aim to showcase how musical and artistic production can actively promote sustainable living, particularly as a tool in building relations and a spirit of creative cooperation. Throughout the month their studio will be open to all inhabitants to record music to become part of that day’s ‘single’; a goal being to transform people's relationship with music from that of passive consumer to that of active creator.

Stay tuned for part one this weekend.