The Tangible Air

The Tangible Air is a series of recordings, compositions and performances based on radio ‘field recordings’ I make in various locations, then turned into scores for a groups of musicians to interpret.

The Tangible Air (no.1)
The first iteration was performed June 9, 2015 at the Suoni per il Popolo Festival in Montréal and based on recordings made in Dakar, Senegal and Montréal, Québec. The Tangible Air (no.1) was performed by Sophie Trudeau (violin, effects), Geneviève Heistek (viola, effects), Rebecca Foon (cello, effects), Christof Migone (electronics, omnichord), Timothy Herzog (percussion, bowed cymbal, effects), and Marc-Alexandre Reinhardt (cassettes, effects).

This ongoing project is referred to as The Tangible Air as an immediate response to the act of a hand turning the radio dial, scrolling across stations and the electromagnetic in-between. Stopping and lingering where there are moments of interest and then moving on. It also hints at the musical form of airs (Italian: aria, French: ayre), and references the fact that radio signals travel through the air to be received by the radio and then made audible through vibrating the tympanic eardrum. Eventually all of these signals are interpreted and performed by musicians handling their instruments thus completing the cycle of ‘ethereal’ radio transmissions becoming messy and physical from human contact.

These signals are recorded in situ. The recordings are later replayed in studio and ‘performed’ using basic guitar effects pedals to loop and extend micro samples of radio signal. This becomes the composition that is later interpreted by musicians using a combination of graphic scores, sound-to-video projection, rehearsals and instrument-specific audio files extracted from the larger composition.

Thank you to the musicians, Suoni per il Popolo, Eric Mattson, Nicole Gingras, Suzanne Saint-Denis of MINUTE and the Canada Council for the Arts Music Composition Program.