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this edition, entitled free port, has been produced in hamburg, germany by engineer, writer and sound artist (and brother of regular contributor d.l. lutz), k. lutz. producer’s notes:
Sound sources: exclusively own material, unedited and unprocessed; recorded around 2010 in the free trade zones of the port of hamburg, germanyk. lutz, 2020.07
About a decade ago, the largest port in germany was still largely a restricted free trade zone, not open to the public. The area always seemed to have an aura of subtle mystery – such a vast space, partially crammed with archaic industry, partially totally deserted, seated right in the center of a metropole densely inhabited by else 2 million people.
Giant gantry cranes in shipyards, uncountable channels, dry docks, ferries for port workers whirling the water, mile-long jetties, hundreds of bridges of all size, busy shunting yards, massive warehouses at quays, huge ship-to-shore cranes, automated container terminals with walls of stacked rusting boxes, in between bars in fishtrawler bellies, seamen’s missions, and the silhouette of 400 meter long ships passing by in the distance. On the one hand a peaceful harmony of the river and its organic shores populated by seabirds, the slow human-like tide rhythm of rising and falling water, on the other hand contrasted with the cold aesthetics of today’s rationalized and rushed globalized logistics. And despite its inhumane, modern touch it keeps carrying the sentimental air of the harbour being a window on the world.
Attracted by this, I started exploring the area on early mornings and late nights, from the land and the water side equipped with a bicycle and small motor boat, invisibly hiding from customs, and captured the sound snippets you will hear in this montage.