portrait of a sounding object


Sound wise, there’s little that begs more for artistic intervention than a large free standing unused water tower. I’m fortunate enough to have easy access to such a structure and it has been the object of numerous interventions over the years. It also happens to look great as well, with its spiky facade and heavy top. The structure itself is made entirely of heavy steel and has a fine aged coast of rust on the outside. My nickname for the tower is “the cactus”. Below are fragments of what has come out of various recording sessions, not just from myself but also with other artists who have been in the MoKS residency.

The first clip is from last year, a video of myself bowing and playing the structure with the microphones placed inside for the best, most reverberant sound quality.

The second clip is a mix of two recordings of the tower in the wind, one from inside and one from outside.

This is the original ‘portrait’ of the water tower from 2007 featuring myself, Yannick Dauby and Wan Shen-Tsai. The recording was made by Yannick who placed two AKG contact mics directly on the tower.

A mix of the wind from outside the tower and the inner resonance with an aeolian wind harp installed

And for those who just want to listen to the mix of the bowed playing (better audio quality than youtube)

a few more images of the water tower


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One thought on “portrait of a sounding object

  • Jay-Dea Lopez

    Hi John. The cactus! I have fond memories of battling the elements (and a very curious onlooker) trying to record it in wind and snow during December 2013. Love the aeolian harp recording.