by Mike Telin
My experience with sound installations is that you never know what to expect. Sometimes the sound adds ambience to — perhaps a walk through an enchanted garden. Other times it’s simply made me feel anxious.
But what is a sound installation? Basically it’s placing a sound system in a room. Yet describing a sound installation becomes a bit more complicated — is it visual art? Is it experimental music? Or is it a combination of both? In the end, does it need to fit into any category? After all, it is about the experience — aural and physical.
By far the most interesting experience I have had with sound was standing inside an organ case while the pipes were being tuned. To feel the dissonances and hear the beats gradually move into a perfect unison is something everyone should experience.
So it was a wonderful surprise to walk into the Pivot Center on June 11 at 11:30 am to be greeted by sound artist Bob Drake, whose installation Dröhnen/Dröna was featured as part of this month’s Re:Sound Festival of New and Experimental Music. Drake showed my colleague and me into a large room bathed in soft shades of blue. On the floor, along the left wall, were two ranks of organ pipes and a traditional pipe organ windchest.