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THE ANTENNA PROJECT




This is about hearing the unheard.

It begins with
Jon Ray aka Skincage.

Jon is a Tucson musician whose name has bubbled up in conversation from time to time.

Something along the lines of: "You ever hear of Skincage? You should play with him..."

After a couple years of circling and emails we finally met up at his studio.

Jon had a phalanx of original instruments set up, I brought along my
Electric Ferris Box, and we embarked on a sound excursion.

What would these folk instruments of original design built mostly from found objects sound like? How would they mesh and contrast? Where would the conversation lie?

As usual in improvisational situations with so many unknowns, we had to deeply listen to what we were creating and respond accordingly as any so-called traditional musician would to the sounds being created.

Imagine a guitar player who has no knowledge of what a piano is improvising for the first time with a pianist who has never heard of a guitar.

It was something like that.

Eventually a
sound sculpture was constructed, solidly ephemeral in design and built without blueprint or map. A classic sonic recipe for creation and I'm sure it will lead to future works.

A few days later I found myself in a cement bunker baked in 100 degree desert heat, alert for scorpions, ants, bees and snakes while listening again, this time through headphones, to a towering antenna being played by the wind.

For year's I'd been telling people: "I wonder what those antenna sound like?"

The antenna's twelve supporting cables, each stretching a couple hundred feet into the air, were anchored to the ground at various locations. I mic'ed the individual cables as with the strings on a cello or violin.

Deep sustained
Aeolian choruses rose and fell with wind generated vibrations. Metal against metal scrapped and bowed. Between gusts, periods of staggering silence expanded into a thick void.

Those listening to these towers have heard the radio signals, cell phone transmissions and radar pings.

But how many have heard the sounds these structures are really putting out?

Now you can.

(A limited CD-R pressing of the entire 25 minute work --- the first in a series of Sonoran Desert Antenna Recordings --- is also available as part of the D-Construction Sound Series)
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