SONNTAG, 17. June 2007, 23:05. - 23:45, Ö1



Dancing walls stir the prairies

von Anna Friz und Eric Leonardson





"Sleep on, nothing remains.
Dancing walls stir the prairies
and America drowns itself in machinery and lament.
I want the powerful air from the deepest night
to blow away flowers and inscriptions from the arch
where you sleep..."

(Federico Garcia Lorca, 1929)

Anna Friz and Eric Leonardson are two sound/radio artists who live across the Great Lakes from one another: Anna in Toronto, Eric in Chicago. These cities are often called "sister cities": two large North American metropolitan cities that sprawl across the lakeshore and landscape; two cities that are similar in the way that Western cities often are, and nonetheless very different in history and character.

We propose to listen below the the newly-armed border rising between the two countries, below the surface of the map. We listen instead for the rhythms of daily movement in our respective places, and seek to enunciate the sounds in the cities that we hear and that haunt our dreams. In this we begin to play together, to beginning with field recordings and moving toward music to create modulations of these two places. In so doing we conjure a third, composite, imagined city that resonates somewhere between the two geographical locations.

We began by remembering sounds in our respective neighbourhoods-- night-time sounds, voices from a café, a passing train, the hiss in the storm sewers. Then we recorded sounds: Eric put a microphone out his window, Anna walked the street. We both recorded from home to our respective lakeshores and back. Then we travelled together to the Wave Farm in the Catskill Mountains in New York state, where we spent some days listening and playing electronics and instruments in a woodshop on the property, recording this piece. With this method we moved from remembered experiences of our cities, to a space of documentation, then to an imagined space where our experiences of city were distilled and abstracted.

(Anna Friz & Eric Leonardson)

Anna Friz favours instruments that breathe and oscillate; employing accordion, concertina, harmonica, theremin, radio samples, ambient field recordings, and voice to conjure unusual sonic spaces. For Eric Leonardson instruments lie in the detritus of everyday life. He employs a self-made instrument that he calls the Springboard, an electroacoustic percussion instrument made from inexpensive and readily available materials. Applying his percussion skills to the rich enharmonic timbres of coil springs, plastic combs, pocket radio, and crude wooden daxophones, Leonardson's work has been described as "...ritualistic music, electronically synthesized industrial vibrations miraculously created with ordinary household objects...." (Carol Burbank, Chicago Reader)