Philip White / Nic Jenkins

Of The Air

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Of the air was recorded in April of 2015 in Charleston, SC on an 1890 tracker organ.

Linkages between stops and the slider chests that open the ranks of pipes to control timbre are mechanical. As a result, pulling out a stop slowly brings in not only a new timbral layer, but does so in way that causes the new sound to slide into the correct pitch. This allows for a microtonal pitch world. During the recording process I was stuck by the way holding down a diatonic cluster while pulling out different sets of stops could create a disorienting feeling of parallel worlds as my brain toggled between hearing two similar musical gestures simultaneously, but an 1/8 tone apart, while also hearing them as a single sound, comprised of shifting polyrhythms as the tones making up the clusters move in and out of phase with one another.

While serving as technical director at ISSUE Project Room in NYC in 2010, I had the great fortune to spend an entire day working with Eliane Radigue to build a 6 channel mix of her “Songs of Milarepa.” I was absolutely inspired by the specificity with which she approached the presentation of her music. Every set of beating tones was placed just so and every voice entrance was in just the right place in the aural image. The idea that there could be so much detail in such apparent stillness is something I always come back to in these slow works. Coupled with her kindness and generosity of spirit, the experience became foundational for me as an artist and as a human.