Tuesday, December 13, 2011

gold tumbler

i came upon this hand-operated tumbler in a clearing in the woods near empire mine state park, california.  fed with pine needles from the ground, this is how it sounded....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Of | the sun and earth together

during a visit to westminster woods near occidental, ca, some 5th graders and i came across this reflection on a shed wall cast from the water-filled end of a metal storage drum....

Friday, December 9, 2011

"white spirits and gray"

asking for
a Child Readers record!

since taking a picture of this in a shop in Ashland, i've read the first few pages of Eden Phillpott's story online--a description of a stone village by the sea--and regret not buying it.

2 photos

salmon river, or

...on the set of green stars

Of--the mouth in the wood

The mouth in the wood by Loren Chasse
yet another instrument generously salvaged from a flea market by my father...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

listening to orcas island

During the night, perhaps a dozen otters visited the deck of the cabin. We awoke hearing the sounds of their running and sliding across the wet wood, a few shrill squeaks, and the surf raking and tumbling stones. In faint light from moonlit clouds, we could see the silhouettes of the otters poised suspensefully on the low dune between the cabin and the beach.
Elsewhere that day, the singing of raindrops and mud along a footpath....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cymbals spinning

Scenes from a performance at Portland's Bamboo Grove--featuring paintings of rocks, trees, leaves and natural forces by my friend Eugene Lee. Eugene asked me to make music using metal, yet I can't resist an opportunity to make another landscape of paper and sand.

Monday, September 5, 2011

summer boredom, part last: the Hoh River's mouth

Our steps stretch
from entire tree

to entire tree,
sent to sea,
and bleached
by waves and beached
amid the clatter
of driftwood elbows and ribs, sloughed in deep beds,
all chatter
beneath feet.
At last, the tent pitched in this dark,
on hard-to-find sand.
Which acre of perfect round stones
most purrs and most clacks in the laps of the tide?
And of what ground should our fire be built on the sky?
Seeing none of this, really, until morning,
the ghosts of whole forests tumbled and bleached
at our backs on the heaps.

Seaward, an ominous solid
ticks and thrums
beneath the lunar blood-thorn
dragging again
the day's light to sea.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

summer bordeom pt 3: matanuska

I just spent a full day with my cousin traipsing around the Matanuska Glacier in Alaska. In the stillness between the waves of warm air, the glacier speaks in hisses, snaps, gurgles, drips and an occasional slam as if of a sheet of metal unfurls somewhere in the depths. Mesmerized by the details of this ice cosmos, oblivious for a time to my own physical situation within it, when I settle in my shoes again I wonder if the terrain has changed enough during my trance that the path to this ridge has already changed its shape enough that I will not be able to follow it back?

Here's how the day looked and sounded....

Listening to the Matanuska Glacier by Loren Chasse

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bertoia gong

In the spirit of 'summer boredom', sifting through boxes of stuff, I decided to begin archiving sounds from an overwhelming heap of mini discs. Here's the sound of one of Harry Bertoia's gongs (played with one hand while recording with the other) on display in downtown Allentown, PA. Bertoia gong by Loren Chasse

Unenao Raamat

Going through stacks of books today, I came across these old children's magazines printed on newsprint (the author of this one is called Seppel...the title means 'dream book'!).
I found them a few years ago in a used bookshop in Tartu, Estonia.
I remember my friend Hitoshi Kojo and I doing battle over them! Fortunately, after frenzied digging we found duplicates of some of them.

Again, I find myself asking: What music would accompany this world?

Friday, July 29, 2011

summer boredom pt.2: smith-bybee lake

canoeing with my cousin this morning, we catch sight of a crude pyramid on the other side of the lake. as we make our way, we pass over a completely smooth earth-colored field on the watertop. this illusion is created by the tangle of sun-bleached plants just below the surface, pressing the water taught against the rolling wind. all along the edge of this smooth still zone however, the wind makes elaborate ripples, as if on a dune.
when we arrive at the structure it is as we had hoped--a massive beaver lodge, about 20ft. in diameter and 6ft. high, limbs whittled to classic pencil points and laid deliberately across a foundation of packed mud. the nearby treeline in both directions shows signs of past gnawing and projects underway. as we begin to circle the lodge a blue heron lifts off with a squawk from the other side. and after, awesome quiet...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chamber piece for the museum of hands and eyes

Recently, TopShake Dance and I collaborated on a performance that took place in a small dressing room at the Conduit dance studio in downtown Portland. Throughout the night, the audience would intermittently enter through a curtained doorway and sit on a bench to look and listen.


An eight-year old girl on my grandfather's side of the family was sent to America on a ship along with this ornate wood foot-pump organ, called a melodeon. Now it sways from side to side and creaks, imaginably like the ship it traveled on, when pumped. The layer in this recording that sounds like a field recording is really all the sympathetic noise from the instrument being played.
The melodeon plays itself, almost by Loren Chasse

This monoprint (here's just a detail of it) by my wife Kendra, propped on the windowsill, started me off recently on a long afternoon at the melodeon...
Of--white violet by Loren Chasse

Of--melodeon songs

This painting of a Czech landscape, which was recently given to me--after a childhood of fixating my imagination on this lonely road--necessitated a soundtrack. The music may be made as much for the frame as it is the hilltop.
Of--"hilltop figures" by Loren Chasse

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Of--"healers pt.1"

a sound from the Nu'alolo cliff trail, Kauai

summer boredom

(a synapsis of what's happened, so far)

infant ferns balanced on perfect axes beneath a canopy of green stars. the Salmon river drones quietly from a distance upon its bed of rocks.

a bird at dusk, intoning like an ocarina at long intervals on the otherwise quiet slope of the forest. i imagine the soft ping of a ride cymbal, as if played with a single brush wire, alternating with this bird's note.
a dark green leathery paddle grazes my leg and next there's the wise eye of a sea turtle meeting mine.
i looked into the eyes of fellow snorkelers and realized how we all share the 'blankness' of the fish in this state, traveling along the membrane between air and water, gracefully avoiding and absently regarding each other.

it's particularly beautiful to look up at the raindrops perforating the watertop.

a family of mountain goats disappears over a bluff of the Nu'alolo cliff trail, leaving behind an actual puff of dust that moves out over the valley momentarily and is gone.

a snare drum brushed a few hundred yards inland from where the surf overlaps the sand. how would it sound from the several towels left variously along the beach?

the bamboo forest is still and hot. the heavy trunk, with its segmented midsection rotted with different sized holes, leans where it did the last time we were here, only no wind blows through these openings. the microphone gets put away...