As a substantial part of Finnish life and culture, sauna has a considerably long tradition in Finland. Savusauna, the smoke sauna, is the eldest technique of preparing a sauna bath. In contrast to more recent sauna baths, no chimney is needed. A big fire is prepared and kept over hours under constant temperature – not to low, but also not too hot, to produce smoke. The smoke is filling and thus heating the sauna room. When the room is hot enough, small windows are opened to let the smoke escape and the sauna bath can begin.
Have you ever enjoyed a savusauna? You should. Lasse-Marc Rieks piece invites you to join a savusauna bath by listening. It’s really worth a try.
While Lasse-Marc Riek, being a specialist for field recordings, would for sure have been able to provide extra material to capture the atmosphere around the savusauna as well, we did not ask for that. His piece is complete in its on rights, celebrating the Finnish sauna culture of the everyday. At the same time, when it comes to sauna bath: how can we translate this experience into sound? Obviously, for several reasons this seems to be an almost impossible task. Or, to be more precise: what we might consider as the most natural translation would be always the most artificial part. For we’d loose track of what we are missing, what can’t be captured with the means of recording, due to the fact that the core experience is fuelled by substances that can’t be kept: smoke, heat, steam, sweat.
So we choose for our acoustic framework a good mixture of field recordings – some of which are so concrete that they might remind you of Foley sounds – the kind of sounds that are created for exactly this very kind of purpose: a substitute that may feel more real than the real one would. But is this really true? You’ll be able to find out anyway. But then we also have to be complete with our credits (see below), thus it is not really necessary to try. Yet, why not stop reading here. Listen by yourself first. And check the data later. It’s really worth a try…
Lasse-Marc Riek is an artist mainly working in the field of sound art, acoustic ecology and related interdisciplinary research, including cooperations with other artists as well as scientist. He is also the co-founder of www.gruenrekorder.de, an outstanding label for phonography, sound art and field recordings. Over the past years he has been travelling north more but once, often returning with field recordings from the frozen world.
This winter he has spent some weeks in Finland. And as it went to be quite cold outside he regularly enjoyed the savusauna.
great many thanks to LASSE-MARC RIEK for SAVUSAUNA! Moreover, special thanks to morosopher, gutek and muf211 for generously contributing their snow recordings, uploading them to freesound.org and donating them to the public domain!
by LASSE-MARC RIEK
radia production: miss.gunst [GUNST + radiator x]
production date: january 2015
station: radio x, frankfurt am main (germany)
length: 28 min.
licence: (c) Lasse-Marc Riek
melting snow (2012) by muf211, snow effects (2013) by morosopher and snow removing (2013) by gutek, all donated to the public domain, on freesound.org
verena kuni (cc-by-nc-sa)