BLOCKHAUS (German for “casemate”) is a video installation about the Atlantic Wall first conceptualized in 2018 by Frank F and Alessandro Ielo, namely EFFTER. This work was realized along the West Coast of Denmark, Normandy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais; music was recorded directly inside this ruined, abandoned fortifications.
It is such an extreme disgrace, that even earth itself withdraws before the Horror. Indeed, those facilities were built on the brink of a very large coastline embracing various nations. Due to sea’s and wind’s natural erosion, those coasts have moved back several metres in less than 80 years. The casemates’ foundation has crumbled, and it has been divoured year after year by sand: laid upside-down, like a mighty beast’s corpse, now in death.
EFFTER decided to defy that malaise: darkness, that fresh smell of cruelty and senselessness. They gave birth to their art – in there, they made MUSIC.
The sounds of the ocean, wind and the burden of memory have accompanied them. For almost a century, that Horror made of concrete remained silent and stoic. They gave it a voice… to not forget.
BLOCKHAUS relied on Frank F and Alessandro catching on camera a series of videos and adding background music recorded inside the casemates. Francesco Sgaramella (a videomaker) provided with his video editing and color correction skills thereafter.
First thing EFFTER did was pre-producing and recording guitar and piano parts between Turin and Berlin, so they could play those tracks inside the casemates and record them again with a TASCAM pocket recorder: this to capture room reverb and audio.
They then played live music inside the casemates, producing additional Drone/Noise sounds using Monotron/Monotron Duo/Monotron Delay, vocals, a Tibetan singing bowl and a harmonica.
Finally, they mixed down everything. During the whole process, they didn’t apply any effect nor use any equalization option: the audio is therefore faithful to the original source.