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Dry Haze

II. Dry Haze – The Year Without A SummerFollowing the 1784 Laki eruption, a dry haze darkened the upper troposphere, screening vast parts of Europe from solar radiation. Many contemporaries described the phenomenon. Thus, the Aberdeen Journal described the haze in the French Provence as being „evil smelling and so dry, it does not tarnish a looking glass and instead of liquefying salts, it dryes them.“ From Naples, it was heard that. "The fogs continue and are accompanied with so alarming an increase of obscurity that our bargemen do not dare venture on the waters without compass." Pastures, grain, vegetables withered from one day to the next, leading to famine and epidemics.In the year 1816, the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Tambora led to the famous „year without a summer“. The English Poet Lord Byron spent that summer with his friends Mary and Percy Shelley near Lake Geneva. Caught in the surprisingly wet, cold and dark weather, they organized a competition to see who of them produced the best ghost story. It was then that Mary Shelley wrote „Frankenstein“, while Lord Byron composed his famous poem „Darkness.“It was the densest dry haze in Euorpe since the late middle ages and it was mainly in the troposphere (...) It consisted of sulphuric acid aerosols and ist overall mass amounted to about 200 megatons. Several authors have indicated that this haze may have been responsible for the cold winter of 1783/83, which triggered an ecological and social crisis in different places of the Northern hemisphere.It was the first scientifically investigated case of dry haze and to this day, it constitutes a paradigm of this phenomenon, a challenge for every scientist presently dealing with climate models. Paul Crutzen, Nobel prize laureate, proposes to employ the effects of spreading sulphuric aerosols in the atmosphere for weather modification.„Airplanes or balloons are used to introduce large quantities of fine sulphuric particles into the higher atmospheric layers, at a height between 10 and 50 km. The most effective strategy would be to have the particles rise over the tropical regions and burn them in the stratosphere. The airstreams would then spread these artificially created aersolos across the earth. This way, the sunlight could be screened off, thus diminishing solar radiation.“.Experts praise the efficiency and the low costs of such a plan to artificially modify the atmosphere.At present, there is a discussion on questions such as how to regulate this kind of intervention legally or impose them on third parties.The composition Dry Haze is the soundtrack to the shaded atmsophere/world, the twilight as it presented itself in the years 1783 and 1816 and might again be imminent, if scientist’s plans were put into practise.Acoustic manipulations of atmospheres, ambient drones. Fine. Lyrical. From psychedelic, dreamlike sunsets to toxic thunderstorms.Byron’s poem – referring directly to the 1816 events – keeps emerging from the music. The words are transformed into pure sound. Sounds are constantly appearing and disappearing again. A diffuse, indifferent world without a sky, without a horizon, is created.It was not only in literature that atmospheric change left its mark. In the field of painting, the new light and weather phenomena inspired contemporary artists. The painting by Turner and Ashcroft no longer focused on the pictured object, but rather on light and colour themselves, the atmosphere „betwixt things.“In the composition the paintings are used as a guiding line, comparable to a graphic score. Qualities as they have been carved out by the painters, are picked up: microtonal and rhythmic sound shifts, shadows that very gradually change their colours, diffuse contrasts and slowly developing colour phenomena, with the motif itself receding to the background.There are no punctual sources of light; rather, the light is diffuse, unstable, opaque, refracting, disguising, darkening. A haze of words is formed by particles, the piece develops without a motif, without a horizon nor a fixed point, the sky (in its metaphorical meaning, equally) is darkened. Meanings are gleaming, they interweave, drift off, diffuse; Rhythms can only be guessed at. A diffuse and indifferent world is created..Radio production Deutschlandradio Kultur 2012/13Git./ electronics: Alf Terje HanaCh’in / electronics: Werner CeeVoices: The Unthanks / Becky Unthank / Rachel Unthank / Adrian McNally / Neville Tranter

DARKNESS by Lord Byron

Welsbach patent US5003186 (A)

The year without a summer

Video clip Dry Haze

Preview Dry Haze on Soundcloud