Short Horizon


gut_von_obenA series of compositions for broadcast, podcast, and CD (2008-2009)

Short Horizon is an ongoing research project that seeks to balance documentary, imagination, and reverie: specifically working with binaural acoustic field recordings and recordings of sounds transduced from the VLF end of the electro-magnetic spectrum using home-made antennas in order to create deeply textured compositions. This practice of urban field(s) recording broadly proposes transmission as an environmental state or landscape in and of itself. Of particular interest is the relative flatness and depth perceivable in both acoustic and Hertzian space, and the diminishing horizon in the contemporary city as a result of urban design and an exponential increase in wireless infrastructure (or EM clutter). Methodologically, urban field(s) recording will also form the basis of other sonically-focussed projects I’m working on with colleague Jason Rovito.

I am especially grateful to Peter Courtemanche aka absolute value of noise for his technical aid and inspiration.

Short Horizon consists of a series of compositions based on recordings made mainly in Toronto. Sites of interest include the Emerson exit of the Lansdowne subway station, Sterling Road, the corner of Montrose and College streets, and domestic radiation around my house. Each of these sites has been chosen for their unique acoustic and EM character–whistling doors, harmonic drones from air circulation systems, proximity to airport flight path, Good Friday march by Italian Catholics, defunct satellite dishes, significant clusters of cell towers and base stations, or flickering neon signs.


Short Horizon has been presented as a four-part serial (consisting of 4 60-minute compositions for radio) at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Walter Phillips Gallery and Radio Free Banff, as part of the exhibition “Bureau de change” in August-September 2008.

A mix from the Short Horizon library was also made for the Radia network, and aired as Our Domestic Radiation on on January 22, 2009, 14:00 (GMT-5), and on partner stations in the Radia network during the week of January 19-25, 2009: Radio Campus, Radio Panik and XL Air, Bruxelles (Belgium); CKUT-FM, Montreal; Radio Corax, Halle (Germany); Radio Grenouille, Marseille (France); Kanal 103, Skopje (Macedonia); Radio Orange, Vienna (Austria); radio x, Frankfurt am Main (Germany); Resonance FM, London (UK); Radio Zero, Lisbon (Portugal); Soundart Radio, Dartington (UK); Lemurie TAZ, Prague (Czech); klubradio, Berlin (Germany); Tilos Radio, Budapest (Hungary); ORF Kunstradio, Vienna (Austria).

Short Horizon will be released as a CD dispatch, co-produced by L.O.T.: Experiments in Urban Research, and