In May 2018 I spent two weeks as a musician-in-residence at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon. This was an incredible opportunity to learn about the groundbreaking research that has taken place in this forest over the past several decades. HJ Andrews researchers have published much of the foundational research concerning old growth forests and their work has revealed magical worlds of ecological relationships and nutrient cycling, as well as affected environmental policy and greatly impacted conservation on public and private lands. HJ Andrews researchers have long developed and supported an interdisciplinary approach that has revealed important and fascinating details over the long-term. HJA is part of the international network of Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) stations; most scientific field work, due to institutional or financial constraints, will look at a question over a few weeks or months time. At HJA, however, much of the research has been planned out to look at changes over as long as 200 years! This reveals a much more accurate picture of the mechanics and magic of pacific northwest forests. The LTER network also recognizes the value of artist input in this process. As a musician in their Long Term Ecological Reflections program, I visited research sites and accompanied scientists in the field so that I could contribute my own interpretation and documentation of this magical place. I have so far released one sound piece from my work there, which you can listen to below. This work was exhibited at fellow HJA residents Leah Wilson and David Paul Bayles’ respective gallery exhibits in Corvallis in 2018. Thank you to Spring Creek, to the biologists who took me out in the field, and to Fred Swanson, Mark Schulze, Brenda Hamlow, and Kathleen Turnley for welcoming me at HJA.

Lookout Creek: Eighth Notes

This sound piece is modeled after HJA resident Leah Wilson's work, Ambient (2014), which hangs on the wall outside the apartment I stayed in at HJA. Andrews researcher Fred Swanson suggested that I create an audio piece based on her approach. Leah had examined and represented the reflections of light and color in and around a small stone placed in the stream. I became excited about this idea of looking at one physical space and taking readings/documentation of the myriad of sonic textures, pitches and combinations that can occur in that one point - and thus making a tangible representation of what might ordinarily seem like a indecipherable stream of noise. Through this work I have thought about the immense musicality of stream acoustics, how we might grow more familiar with each stream site's acoustic details through isolation and repetition. I re-visited Leah's approximate sampling site on Lookout Creek, at the water gage. I placed a Hydrophone in one spot on a flat rock at the stream bottom, and took one 10 second recording every two minutes. From each 10 second sample, I extracted 4 recordings of eighth-note value at set points across samples, and built a loop of each eighth note set. The composition begins with the 1st sample's loop, and moves through each subsequent loop, with sections of overlap between each consecutive pair. I did not effect or process the sounds beyond using an equalizer and adding a touch of reverb. Anthony Brisson did the final mastering of this work.