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Birdscapes Radio

1 May 2021

Free Form Radio Program

In anticipation of International Dawn Chorus Day, the worldwide celebration of nature’s greatest avian symphony, Ballroom Marfa is presenting Birdscapes Radio. This freeform program will center on Frye’s ever-evolving collaborative, sonic exploration into the world of birds. Listeners can expect to hear down-tempo dawn chorus, historical recordings, rare sounds, and seabird colonies hosted by Rob Frye and Sarah Melendez, with guests Edbrass Brasil, Cristian Pinto, Martin Frye, Satya Gummuluri and more. The show will also include excerpts from “Experience the Birds,” the first episode of Maui Nui Seabirds: Mauka to Makai, and Rob’s performative lecture “Hearing Hidden Melodies.”

Birdscapes was originally realized as a video collaboration between Chilean artist Martin Kaulen and Frye, who met while touring with their respective bands Watch Out! and Bitchin Bajas in 2014. Years later, Kaulen coined the term “birdscape” while describing a video he made in which bird’s flight paths are traced, yielding an inexhaustible source of tracks and lines. Frye provided the musical accompaniment “In the Air Like Clouds’’ for the video, and while visiting Kaulen in Paris in 2018, the two hosted a “Birdscapes Sound Happening” at Chez Adel. They mixed Frye’s process of slowing down bird song and flute with Kaulen’s technique of using piezo transducers to amplify these sounds through resonant physical objects, such as the tables, chairs, windows, and a piano.

Birdscapes Radio will be streamed on Ballroom Marfa’s website on May 1st to encourage people to listen to the world of birdsong with a musician’s ear.

This project was organized by Ballroom Marfa Programs Director Sarah Melendez.


Chihuahuan Desert | Birdscapes Cassette

Ballroom Marfa and Astral Spirits are excited to announce the release of Chihuahuan Desert | Birdscapes on cassette from musician and birder Rob Frye. The cassette features Frye’s original Birdscapes from 2018 in addition to Chihuahuan Desert Birdscapes, commissioned by Ballroom Marfa in 2020.

Self-released on Bandcamp in 2018, Frye’s sounds from Birdscapes (side B on the cassette) featured processed sounds of South American species, including Song Wren, Common Potoo (both recorded by Peter Boesman) and Musician Wren (recorded by Richard Ranft), with Frye on flute and granular synthesis with voice contributed by Satya Gummuluri.

Chihuahuan Desert Birdscapes (side A on the cassette) was created while Frye was in residence at Ballroom Sessions–The Farther Place. The album is inspired by the avian populations of West Texas and features the sounds of handmade reed flutes intertwined with field recordings and birdsong selected from xeno-canto. With Chihuahuan Desert Birdscapes, Frye tunes-in to the subtle consciousness of the natural world and dives deep into the sonic landscape of the Big Bend.