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BINAURAL DRAMA. Germany - Otaku Nation

Author, Director & Producer: Udo Moll. Sound engineer: Eva Pöpplein.


The image of the quiet, noble Japanese disciplining himself in Zen aesthetics shows at most half the truth. There are manifold zones of noise in Japanese everyday life, a childlike joy in loud expressions of life - in every noodle bar you are greeted by a choir of cheerfully crowing "Irrashaimassees", the louder the better, it's almost a competition. A separate subcategory of Japanese noise is formed by the emissions of a special national passion: playing.

When you enter a pachinko hall, you are immediately submerged in a maelstrom of infernal noise, most of the machines still work electromechanically, thousands of small steel balls are played with, rattling through the machines. Whining announcements about jackpots and prize distributions increase the acoustic density. But even the classic arcades with video game consoles are not bad at all: a lot of whining, tinny explosions, death cries, electronic 8-bit tootling, penetrating game music. And an amazing amount of mechanical noises from the players, who are lost in trance and hack on the keys, joysticks, game controllers in superhuman furor.

An essential part of the piece is based on field recordings I made in Kyoto and Tokyo in 2018. Among them are recordings from the Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto, where Buddhist lay songs from a group of pilgrims mix with the characteristic sounds of the Omikuji oracle, also a kind of game - you shake a tin can with wooden sticks with markings in it, and then pull out one of these sticks. The markings are then used by the temple servant to give you a piece of paper with a fortune telling.

The early Nintendo and Sega games from the ’80s also have their own unique sound, and with very limited technical resources and a reduced sound palette, the developers were surprisingly creative. In addition, algorithms from historical speech synthesis chips are allowed to sing.

English text (click)