Big Rock Maine

Todd Thille and I recently returned from Maine where we completed an intensive review of the IBVA sound acquisition technology. Pictured below, it is hooked up to a large granite stone. The stone came from my grandparents old house in Jamestown. When still on the ground in R.I, I spray fitted two copper wires to each end with molten zinc, using the thermal arc spray system I employed for metalizing glass. This allowed us to sample the small mille-voltages coming from within the stone, and convert them into electronic music.

I brought the stone to Maine where it serves as a bench, but I always wanted to see whether it could output enough voltage to create a Sonoform (i.e. an electronic music composition made from the small voltages of rocks or plants). My weeks tutorial with Todd on all things IBVA and ABLETON LIVE provided the perfect opportunity.

The stone proved very active that evening, providing us with a long, uninterrupted recording opportunity, especially in the area of 7-9Hz, the area of the Earth's resonant frequency. Perhaps that should not be too surprising, given that directly across the bay are 26 enormous towers, (the most powerful VLF transmitter in the world ). Purportedly used for submarine communications, the towers likely broadcast on frequencies that pass through the earth, possibly being picked up by the stone.

from wikipedia

The evening, pictured left, has me at the desk of the Maine studio with the IBVA receiver pictured in the foreground, in front of the door. Outside, about 40' away, in a direct line of sight, sits the rock, with the IBVA transmitter fitted to the leads. It was a magical evening, during which a mysterious 'duende' appeared, animating the surroundings. (Duende is a Flamenco term that describes a mysterious, creative force of Nature that spontaneously appears and permeates the performance, but only, it is said, in the most private of settings.)

Not discernable in the recording is the contribution of our friend Henry Platt. I asked Henry, who is at once a fine musician, music teacher and designer of retro electronics, to come up with a desktop tube amplifier and speaker set for us to experiment with. His design has the purpose of rendering the sounds from the plants and rocks in the purest and simplest manner to the ear. Would these finely rendered sonics carry something more from those unusual sources to our perception and imagination? For my money, the system certainly adds value on both counts. The Full Monty of electronics, room, locale, company and attitude factored into the evenings sublime quality. More about the amplifier and speaker setup.