The best saxophonists play just as well unaccompanied as they do accompanied — but they also know that, in the act of musical creation, it certainly helps to have even a little bit of sound to play off coming your way. German musician Armin Küpper discovered more than a little bit of sound coming his way when he tried playing his saxophone into a gas pipe he happened across near his home. Kept at a construction site and not currently in a state to pipe any gas, it served him as a kind of echo device, one distinctive in both sound and appearance. On his Youtube channel he’s posted a dozen videos so far of the “concerts” he’s given at the pipe: playing into it, standing beside it, sitting in it.
“This sound on the tube, in this loneliness always gives me the feeling: Hey, you’re not alone there!” writes Küpper. “Sometimes I just can’t stop playing. The nice thing is, when it gets cool in the evening, I sit down in the tube heated up during the day and enjoy the sunset playing the saxophone.”
These sentiments appear in the description of the video at the top of the post, in which Küpper demonstrates the style of music he calls “Pipelinefunk,” or in his native German Röhrensound. He’s also tried his hand at “Pipelineblues,” pipeline guitar, and a composition called “Walking on the Pipeline” — during his performance of which he does just that, the sound of his saxophone changes with every step he takes toward the opening.
When played directly into the pipe, Küpper’s saxophone comes back sounding uncannily like a classic call-and-response. But what’s truly impressive is the range of effects he discovers while approaching the pipe differently each time, producing whole new soundscapes by changing little more than the angle of his playing. Alas, his time with the pipe seems to have lasted only so long. The building project that brought the pipe in the first place would sooner or later have to make use of it, and in one video description Küpper mentions that “ ‘my pipe’ was laid in the ground.” There could be no better sendoff for this unusual musical partner — and a collaborator in the creation of this surprising variety of, literally, German industrial music — than Küpper’s dusk performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”?
via Laughing Squid
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.