Buildings [New York]
Francisco López

suzanne thorpe
October 10, 2008

On Friday, October 10, at 8pm, at Judson Church in New York, Ear to the Earth 2008 presents sound artist Francisco López, who will perform Buildings [New York] from his epic Trilogy of the Americas. This will be the New York premiere of his incomparable acoustic interpretation of New York's topography.

Excerpt from Buildings [New York]

Trilogy of the Americas is La Selva, Buildings [New York], and Wind [Patagonia]. Together they are a macro and micro soundscape of the earth, wind and man. On its own, Buildings [New York] is a composition created from the windy, man-made landscape of machine rooms, elevator shafts, and heating systems of the city's office and residential buildings. López positions these breathing, raw, pulsating man-made elements in layers, suggesting an industrial nature, a kind of new wilderness. For Ear to the Earth 2008, the performance will be an immersive audio environment. Blindfolds will be provided for the audience to focus on the sound.

We asked López about the connection he makes between his recording and his subject. He answered:

"My personal take on this has the component of 'living' the place during the field work as a form of inspiration in its substantial aspects (texture, pace, sense of space), not in its representational ones. And then, when dealing with the actual recordings, entering a different world of references and rules, a world whose parameters and dimensions are defined by the sounds themselves."

We asked him about New York sounds. What is a New York sound? He answered:

"All cities have soundmarks, prototypical sounds that sort of identify the city (although mostly only for its inhabitants). These, however, are scant and somewhat occult and exceptional manifestations amidst an ocean of road traffic and street sounds that are considerably homogeneous between different cities in the world. To me, the most interesting sounds and sound environments in cities are found indoors, not outdoors. That's why Buildings [New York] is based exclusively on indoor recordings of buildings in the city."

Concert information

López has developed a distinctly personal sonic universe over the past twenty-five years, establishing himself as an internationally recognized figure in experimental music. His work converges industrial and wilderness sound environments, blurring the listener’s sonic orientation and creating a space for a full sensory and experiential engagement. Diverging from the traditional soundscape movement and the making of documentary field recordings, López mines the sonic universe for material with which he can create a unique musical palette, as if he is, as he put it, “trying to reach an ideal of absolute concrète music.”