Tilde—Cast (Dowsing) is an interactive work for six oscillators and radio that invites the listener to participate through tuning and acoustic filtering. The piece is a live radio broadcast performance of overtone and beating pattern phenomena within multi-oscillator and multi-pitch frequency modulations, regulated by nuanced pitch manipulations within commingling square waves and volume control, that shows how particular spaces and materials shape radio’s characteristics.
Proximity is important to Tilde—Cast (Dowsing): Cook invites the viewer to sit near the speakers, hold the tune knob, and modulate at will. The primary reason for this invitation is to encourage the audience to focus on close listening and the intimacy of being physically contiguous to the radio while listening to the broadcast. This introduces a personal and spontaneous participatory asepct to the work. Tuning the radio was something Cook used to do when he was young, which recalls for him evocative memories of the intensity of being close to the speaker. For Cook, the setting of being alone in a quiet room added to the drama of that experience.?
Tilde—Cast (Dowsing) is also a study of the gradations of atmospheric radio signal frequency inflections. The remote listener will also be invited to introduce acoustic filtering to muffle, attenuate, and augment the broadcast by draping fabric or other materials over and against their own speakers. A vase or glass, for instance, can be used to reflect the sound creating a micro-chamber effect and acoustical scale shift.?
The work investigates how the act of broadcasting is a dissemination of content without knowing where it will go, who will hear it, or what will become of it, though is deeply influenced by the environment in which it arrives. Since broadcast content intermingles within unique spheres which morph its identity, Cook invites this process into Tilde—Cast (Dowsing) by encouraging listener-generated manipulation of the transmission. The work is ultimately a meditation on the variability and mutability of diffusion and also the ways in which our perception and enjoyment of sound is heavily influenced by atmospheric and environmental particulars.
Multi-disciplinary sound and visual artist, Nathan Cook runs the Close/Far Recordings cassette label. He performs solo and actively seeks out collaborations as N.N.N. Cook. Regularly performing in St. Louis he has shared programs with national and international artists such as Keith Fullerton Whitman, Jozef Van Wissem, Jason Kahn, Coppice, King Britt, and Rene Hell as well as collaborating and performing with local artists such as Regicide Bureau, Ghost Ice, Kingston Family Singers, Chris Smentkowski, Kevin Harris, and Raglani. Although he has performed in Chicago, Kansas City, and Tulsa among other Midwestern cities most of his performances have been in St. Louis at The Saint Louis Contemporary Art Museum, The William A. Kerr Foundation, The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, Apop Records, Floating Laboratories, The Way Out Club, and The Open Lot.
In 2013, Cook was invited to co-curate the annual Noise Festival at The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, and recent public projects have been collaborations with the Laumeier Sculpture Park (St. Louis) for Site/Sound, the World Chess Hall of Fame (St. Louis) for a performance of John Cage’s Reunion, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis for Audible Interruptions, a residency with High Concept Laboratories (Chicago), a performance for the Oscillations 2014 concert series at Experimental Sound Studios (Chicago), an end of the 2014 season showcase performance for the New Music Circle (St. Louis), a commissioned composition for Alarm Will Sound (NYC), and in October 2015 he performed at Worm (Rotterdam) and recorded in their Klangendum studio for a forthcoming album. Cook is currently compiling Rhizomatic St. Louis Volume 4, an annually released compilation of sound art, free improvisation, and electronic and electroacoustic music from artists currently living and working in the St. Louis area, which is due out Winter 2015/16. According to The Wire magazine, in a review of his latest solo release (Bl)end User, “Nathan Cook is a distinctive voice in this crowded field. [of analogue electronics].”
* Radius Episode 68 will be performed, broadcast, and recorded live at Co-Prosperity Sphere in partnership with Lumpen Radio WLPN 105.5-FM on Friday November 20, 2015 at 8pm CST. Proceeding the event, a live audio recording will be released online at theradius.us/epsiode68.
N.N.N. Cook invites remote listeners to record their tuning interjections (and, if possible, acoustic filtering) and submit them to Radius. Selections will be archived and broadcast with the recording of Cook’s performance. This will create and showcase listener generated versions of the work.
Special thanks to Joseph Kramer for the six oscillator unit which he designed and built in 2008.