Walter Ruttmann Archive


First Ever Field Recording – Berlin – 1930

29.08.2014 Posted in Red Lifestyle No Comments

The first ever Field recording was made in 1930 in Berlin. It was assembled from more than 240 different sounds and portrayed the street life of the city. For those who are not familiar with field recordings  – these are the recordings made outside of the studio. Generally there can be two types of field recordings: natural sounds such as croaking calls of frogs or rain in the tropical rain forests, and simple recordings made by musicians in a familiar environment. Both became largerly popular in the 1960s. So it is quite incredible that as early as in the 1930, Walter Ruttmann, a German film director and an adept of avant-garde art and music, decided to produce the first field recording and register the sounds of the streets of Berlin. The final version of his oeuvre, titled  the Weekend, went on for 11 min 30 sec. There are bells ringing, cars beeping, children singing and the weekend orchestra playing Dances and Marches. Walter Ruttmann presented his oeuvre at the 2nd Congress of Independent Film in Brusseles in the summer of 1930.  He explained that in his work he was looking for an opportunity to develop potential resources of the sound. After listenting to it a the Congress, one of the critics of the time described this recording as a “film without images”. Reproduced today on a small (8 cm in diameter) red CD, the pioneering work of Ruttmann can be bought on Discogs web-site. (You can also listen to it on […]