Chamber Music is an ongoing series of site-specific sound works made entirely from a single recording of the empty space in which they are presented. An hour of “silent” room tone is recorded when no people are in the building; this is heavily filtered to extract drones derived from the room’s resonant frequencies. This is the only sonic material used, and there is minimal electronic processing involved. Airforms was made in 2013 as a birthday gift for Steve Roden, who provided two hours of empty room tone recorded in his bubble-shaped “Airform” house designed and built by architect Wallace Neff in 1946. The first hour was used to make the drones, and the second hour to make the bell-like tones, and the two are here superimposed. Certain Roden-inspired compositional strategies were devised to generate indeterminate structures.
“This is literally chamber music – sound artist Steve Peters records the ambient resonances of empty rooms, which he then turns into site-specific installations exhibited in the same locations. The latent acoustic potential of the space is brought out into a more tangible form. For the most part, stony sonorities are all that can be heard: long, looming tones that unfold incredibly slowly...these are broken by moments of vivid detail: sounds like dropping water, or the soft report of a sonar, gather and disperse, apparently randomly – though after a while they almost recall Morse code.” —The Wire