The musical fly line

Every sports car has a melody – but what tune would a Porsche play, if its sound was actually transformed into music?

2y ago

Designers have a name for the iconic sloping roofline used by Porsche: the fly line. This is a crucial part of the 911’s universally recognisable shape. But apart from the obvious visual characteristics, Porsche DNA is made up of much more too: sound, workmanship, surface feel – even the aroma. It’s a long list and it's a list that audio artist Duan Wasi has translated into his chosen art form.

Born and based in Stuttgart, the popular hip-hop producer has reinterpreted Porsche's wonderfully complex DNA as music, in a new work called Loop Routines, which will be released on December 12 in a limited edition run of 500 vinyl records. Listeners can expect urban music crafted from samples that have been enriched with actual Porsche sounds. “Le Mans” is the title of the piece on which Duan Wasi collaborated with video artist Mikis Fontagier, and is an example of the way he opens up the scope for listener interpretation.

Working with Porsche represents a change of perspective for the artist, who doesn't describe himself as a petrolhead. “I’m looking at the essence of the technical object, history, and iconic design, which speaks to me as such,” he explains.

His approach could be described as scientific: Duan Wasi visited the Porsche Museum workshop as part of the production, and over the course of several recording sessions there, laid the groundwork and captured the various sound elements of the Le Mans 911 GT3 RSR (type 996).

“Initially I was looking for auditory equivalents for concepts such as pressure, shape, dynamism, tempo, or rotation,” he explains. Using various audio signal processing design methods, such as multiband filters and granular synthesis, the sounds were refined and put together to create sample collages.

The concept is rooted in the genre of soul and psychedelic blues. “While the percussive elements are clearly mapped in order to distinctly express speed and tempo, other motifs are only insinuated. Listeners perceive them as snapshots. They come to life from being reduced to the essential elements of their musical composition, and should convey a feeling similar to Steve McQueen’s Le Mans film. I would describe the effect as hypnotic while also being exciting.”

To complete the package, a sophisticated video sequence was put together during the session by international filmmaker Mathias David. The Porsche Museum – with its iconic architecture – is the main location.

Some clip sequences use original recordings of the Le Mans race from the Porsche archives, which were arranged in post-production by renowned video artist Mikis Fontagnier. The result is a music video that achieves a high artistic standard, combining concepts from advertising, hip-hop, the classic music video, and the visual arts.

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