Guggenheim gets Dark

Andrew Bird

This summer, the Guggenheim Museum in New York has been running a new concert series. Rather than the uptown modernism of Works and Process, they are presenting crossover pop with classical leanings. The Dark Sounds series has already featured Beirut (one of my indie pop faves) last month.

Andrew and Ian in the Sonic Arboretum

This coming week (on August 5th), another luminary of indie-dom is appearing at the Guggenheim. Andrew Bird certainly fits the polystylistic hybrid tag. An accomplished violinist as well as a guitarist and vocalist, his music sits astride pop, classical, jazz, and folk. For the Guggenheim performance, he’s joined another eclectic artist: Ian Schneller is active as a sculptor, inventor, and a luthier. Together they are creating a piece called Sonic Arboretum.

A work for violin, loops and a plethora of horn speakers of varying sizes, Sonic Arboretum is a sound environment that will engage listeners in an immersive and multileveled fashion. (Specimen Products has a page listing technical details about the speakers and their deployment here.) Schneller’s vision was of tall trees (big horn speakers) as well as a ground canopy of smaller horn units, creating a sort of surround sound on steroids!

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Here’s Bird performing with the horn speakers in two videos from 2008.

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