Audiomobile No. 2: DNA in Reflection (1963)


Roberto Gerhard’s ‘Audiomobile No. 2’ was originally composed as a soundtrack to a short film titled ‘D.N.A. in Reflection’, produced by two scientists at the Cambridge Department of Molecular Biology. The film utilised a model of the Crick-Watson double helix structure of D.N.A. reflected by a set of rotating mirrors, which produced a continuous chain of animated patterns, similar to that of a kaleidoscope. The soundtrack utilises a number of pre-recorded natural sounds, which Gerhard wove together in the style of a collage, and cut to accompany the different sections of the film.

Gerhard’s ‘Audiomobile No. 2’ took on life as work for electronic tape in its own right, receiving broadcast in concert and on the BBC radio in 1967. When broadcast as the closing item in his ‘Sound Observed’ radio feature, Gerhard commented: “I would only like to insist on one last thing. That whether you call it music or not – I call it sound composition – the only way it can and should be listened to is genuine, unprejudiced, musical listening.”

019Audio recordings of Roberto Gerhard’s ‘Gemini’ and ‘Audiomobile No. 2: DNA’
269Audio recording of Roberto Gerhard’s ‘Audiomobile No. 2: DNA’
318Audio recording of a fragment of the second part of Roberto Gerhard’s radio feature ‘Sound Observed’
405Audio recordings of two versions of Roberto Gerhard’s ‘Audiomobile No. 2: DNA’, the twin-track version and the final assembly version