The history of telephony is a history of distance and immediacy, lag and overlap; waiting for a connection, cutting in and cutting out. Drawing on telephonic exchanges both past and present on the one hand, and canon or catch construction on the other, 0121 Stimmtausch is a piece for multiple voices by writer/musician Honor Gavin.
0121 is the Birmingham dialing code (what you dial when you’re not there); stimmtausch the theoretical term for a voice exchange in music. Excepting the irruptive bleep of the numeral 2, the Birmingham dialing code is also almost but not quite binary, reminding us of the way in which communicative technologies, just like voices, don’t so much succeed each other as overlap.
0121 Stimmtausch is partly inspired by overhearing a group of young boys in Istanbul spread out around a courtyard and each reciting parts of the Qur’an: I heard the undulatory murmur before I saw its source, and had no idea what it was.
Honor Gavin is a writer, musician, and academician born in Birmingham and now based in Berlin. Her work includes the multi-media cityscape Midland, the sonic installment of which will be released by the whenwebuildagain collective early next year.