Coronium 3500 (Lucie’s Halo)
is a site-specific sound installation consisting of a multi-voiced generative composition based on solar-powered sound-making devices. There are twelve voices distributed in a grassy area, all of which are completely reliant on the sun for making sound. The eight smaller voices “wake up” very early, and are capable of making sounds at very low light levels, and will drastically change their song based on the amount of sunlight present. An additional set of four instruments, arranged in a circular orientation, activate only in direct sunlight. These will play a generative composition of melodic patterns based upon an equal-tempered pentatonic scale in the “3500 Hz” system, which will change throughout the day in response to the length of time they have been individually activated, as well as the general ambient light level. Every ten minutes, the four voices will “chime,” coming together and playing a short piece in sync/harmony with each other, before going back to their individual characteristics.
The title is derived from the 3500 Hz “halo” that will pervade the sound of the space, acting as a kind of reverse fundamental pitch. The subtitle is an homage to Lucie Rosen, who, with her husband Walter, founded the Caramoor estate. In addition to her legacy of bringing great music to Caramoor, she was a renowned performer on the legendary electronic instrument, the theremin. Her curly blond hair was once described in the New York Evening Journal as a “wide halo around her delicate and ethereal face.”
Scott Smallwood is a sound artist, composer, and sound performer who creates works inspired by discovered textures and forms, through a practice of listening, field recording, and sonic improvisation. He also designs experimental electronic instruments and software, as well as sound installations and site-specific performance scenarios. Important to his process is exploring the subtleties of sonic texture through gradual transformations of timbre, particularly with sounds that may have originated from specific recordings of objects or spaces. His compositional and improvisational work makes use of space explicitly, and often involves multiple channel environments, found sounds, and non-conventional instrumentation. He has performed and collaborated with numerous artists, including Pauline Oliveros, John Butcher, Seth Cluett, Jennifer Mesch, Benton-C Bainbridge, and long-time collaborator Stephan Moore. His work has been published by Deep Listening, Static Caravan, Autumn Records, and Wowcool Records, among others. He has written for numerous instrumental ensembles, including recent works for the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, and the Continuum Ensemble of Toronto. He has been active as an educator for over 20 years, and currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he teaches composition, improvisation, and electroacoustic music at the University of Alberta.
2014 Installation and Interview. Video by Caryn Waechter.