01/11/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 11)

Recorded in a WWII Fallout Shelter on Whidbey Island.


12 Moons Solo Project Day 11

Date: 01/11/2013
Instrument: Soprano Saxophone
Location: Fort Casey Military Base, Whidbey Island


Built on a lookout near a strategic ocean passage between Whidbey Island and the mainland of WA state, Fort Casey served as an artillery post during WWII. This amazing place is now a WA state park and no longer in military use. My piece today was recorded in a cement bunker built as a fallout shelter in case of a nuclear attack. The space is a corridor, approximately 40 feet long with iron doors at its entrance and iron doors separating the various compartments. I placed my microphone setup near at an angled point in this corridor to capture the amazing amount of reverb and delay.

The space was pitch black, and when I entered into it the daylight was fading and barely filtered in. I forgot my flashlight and was met by absolute elation at the sound of the space, and the terrifying reality of being inside a fallout shelter in pitch black alone. After only 70+ plus years of existence, this space is being reclaimed by nature. As I played swallows would occasionally swoop in beside me. In the ceiling above me water dripped through the cracks and hit the floor, building little stalactites from the ground up. Water was eroding the floor. 

I decided to use the natural reverb of this location in my improvisation today. I began with a single pitch to help establish my bearings with the decay of sound. I eventually worked to develop this pitch by the addition of overtones and multiphonics. As with my piece from January 8th, I used slap tonging and high pitch wails to try and get a sense of the wide spectrum this space had to offer. I also incorporated dissonant, wide intervals into this piece to help elaborate on the transition from my single note melodies to the harmony then created by delay in the room.