The Tubes

Breath sounds are produced by a giant vulcanic tube system

1994-2003 (30′46″)
Electroinstrumental music

The breath sounds used in “The tubes” are produced by the giant volcanic tube system found near the village of Echedo on the Canary island El Hierro, where the surf of the sea sets the air in motion. In 1994 I recorded the “breathing” of the tubes for 15 hours and shortened these to the duration of 39’36”. This was necessary because the air noises were often very loud, the blast of wind very strong and the recordings oversteered and distorted. This was the first version of The Tubes.
The first solo voice of the piece was recorded in 1995 at ABC Radio studio in Sydney. The Aboriginal musician Mark Atkins played didgeridoos of different lengths (2 and 2,5 meters). The second solo voice was recorded in October 2000 by Jon Hassell on trumpet, using Dan Schwarz’s old tube mikes, at the “Factory place studio” of Michael Hoenig (former member of the synthesizer group ‘Tangerine Dream’) in Los Angeles. A fourth “synthetic” layer, which consists, among other things, of air sounds from humming tops and electronically generated sea noise, completes “The Tubes”.
In May 2003 “The Tubes” was mixed and finished again in the studio of Michael Hoenig. “The Tubes” had the radio premiere simultaneously in the “Studio for Acoustic Art” of “Westdeutscher Rundfunk” in Cologne and in “4FM” by the Dutch broadcaster NPS in Hilversum in January 2004.

The Tubes – didgeridoo

1994/1995 (38′)

During my stay in Sydney in 1994, I got to know the virtuoso Aboriginal didgeridoo player Mark Atkins through my radio colleague Andrew McLennan, who at the time was responsible for the well-known experimental radio programme “The Listening Room” on the Australian national broadcaster ABC. I had reduced the 15 hours of sound material to a duration of 38 minutes. I presented these recordings to Mark and he was thrilled. His instrument, the didgeridoo, was also a tube, and he also combined the power of nature with his playing. I asked Andrew if he could provide us with a recording studio and worked out a small, graphic score that was to become the basis for the recording. That’s how “The Tubes”, didgeridoo, came about.This recording is called “Crosscurrents” and is available in the ABC archive.

© Copyright - Michael Fahres