A lovely new documentary called The Art Of Listening by directors Michael Coleman and Emmanuel Moran and is now available to stream. Among many other musicians, engineers and designers in sound, Specimen Products own Ian Schneller is featured in a segment describing his process of luthiery. His segment starts at the 8:32 time marker, the whole movie is a fascinating watch!
Join us at the 2016 Chirp Record Fair! We’ll be showcasing two 9ft Specimen XL horns along with our horn speakers, hifi tube amps and guitars. We’ll have a table right in front of the stage. Click here to RSVP and get more info. See you there!
Andrew Bird ushered in the holiday season in this majestic setting at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. The shows debuted our brand new version of the Extra Large Specimen Horn. Towering at nine-feet tall, they are capable of producing thunderous low-end and crispy high frequency detail for lush, spacial concert sound. It really was cozy, Andrew.
The Aerobund is a dual purpose aerodynamic bicycle cowling that also serves as a traveling storage unit/console/handlebar bag. The construction is “stick and tissue” like model airplanes of years gone by. Specimen Products will offer kits for this exclusive design to bicycle enthusiasts who love to do it themselves. Fundamental building skills will be obtained through building this kit and your bicycle will be ever so stylish and fast.
All of our workshops are hands-on and closely guided by your instructor. Enrollment is limited.
Register early for significant savings on tuition. Early registration ends 5/2/2015.
I invite you to peruse the summer menu and call our school with questions. Now is your chance to take Chicago School of Guitar Making courses and come away with your handmade guitar, ukelele, tube amp and knowledge of tube amp repair!
An exceptional opportunity to learn the principles and practices of tube amp diagnostics and repair and then hand build either a Tweed Style guitar tube amp or a Hi-Fi Stereo tube amplifier. In addition to a hand-built point-to-point amplifier ready for a custom finish, students will leave with the knowledge and ability to service the amp themselves.
$1233 tuition. Amp materials cost is additional and varies according to kit choice.
Take $100 off for registering before May 2, 2015.
Acoustic Guitar Building – 2 Weeks
Construct your very own Martin 000 style steel string acoustic guitar of either Rosewood or Mahogony from an excellent kit under the watchful eye of the instructor. The Stewart- MacDonald kit uses top quality woods and can produce instruments which rival even the greatest luthier builds. Students will have a complete guitar ready to play and ready for custom surface finishing.
Course fee: $3615 for Mahogany, $3665 for Rosewood includes tuition, instruction and all materials.
Take $100 off for registering before May 2, 2015.
Electric Guitar Building – 3 Weeks
Build a sonically superior, high quality traditional style electric guitar to your personal specs this summer. This slab body electric guitar build will feature a non-adjustable steel reinforcement in the neck, yielding a guitar with superior longevity, stability and tonality. Daily lecture/demonstrations will cover the instrument’s design theory and construction principles and students will be guided through the skills and methodologies required at each stage of the construction. Students will have a complete guitar ready for custom surface finishing.
But Andrew Bird did, and it can be heard being played through over 30 colorful, Dr. Seuss-like speakers at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The exhibition, Sonic Arboretum, on which he collaborated with sculptor and instrument-maker Ian Schneller, opened Wednesday.
Bird, a primarily indie-folk musician, recorded himself playing the violin, along with the occasional whistling and sound of flowing water in the Coyote Gulch canyons of Utah.
Deviating from Bird’s usual singer-songwriter material, the recording is a 50-minute-long nonstop experience. If you had to slap a genre label or two on “Echolocations: Canyon,” as it’s called, you would have to call it avant-garde. It’s melodious, but the bouncing, reverberate echo effect of the exhibition makes it just as much about stylized ambiance as it is about composition.
But one genre doesn’t quite do it justice. The piece often breaks into segments that feel more like the score to a Hayao Miyazaki film than anything else. (I’d like to quickly take a step back from this piece to formally request a Miyazaki-Bird collaboration.) The oscillation between the feels of scientific exploration of echoes and the visceral, driving nature of the arrangement gives the piece a depth worth talking about.
Schneller’s role in the exhibition is not to be shoved aside, however. He was the one to meticulously place each of the 30-plus speakers made from recycled newsprint, dryer lint, baking soda and more on all four sides of the museum room.
The smaller details too, make what he accomplished technically impressive. To get all of the speakers to play the track at the same exact time, a multitude of iPod nanos have to be synchronized at a level of precision that is beyond human capability. To work around this, Schneller took the route that only a sculptor-instrument-maker would take: he created a device that hits play on up to ten iPods at a time, at the exact same moment. It’s called the Nano Sync, and it wouldn’t be art if it wasn’t as colorful and visually stunning as the rest of the audio equipment in the room, would it?
All together, the sonic and visual components come together to form a surreal experience. Whatever you’re thinking about when you walk into the exhibition, your mind will probably entirely lose sight of it in the process of calibration.
How much you get out of Sonic Arboretum also depends on how much time and attention you give it. Because there’s more art outside both entrances to the room, it’s easy to walk in, listen for a minute or two, and then continue on with your museum tour. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that approach. You have enough time to appreciate the visual aesthetic of Schneller’s artful speakers and get a general sense of Bird’s music, even if it’s on a relatively superficial level of understanding.
But if you want to stop, sit down on the bench in the center of the room and close your eyes, you can do that too. (And you won’t be alone, chances are). You can try to picture yourself sitting down cross-legged in a solitary canyon in Utah while a renowned musician plays his violin not too far away, if you’d like. Or you can let your mind wander and let Bird’s music be a backdrop to your thoughts.
As is the nature of modern art, there is no one expected outcome, as cliché as it sounds. There’s no specific way you’re supposed to think or feel when you walk out. It’s considerably liberating in a sense.
The installation, Sonic Arboretum, has been around since 2010, but it previously featured Bird performing live through the sound system. The pre-recorded “Echolocations: Canyon,” is the first of its kind in an “Echolocations” series. To follow in the upcoming years are “River,” “City,” “Lake” and “Forest.”
You can guess where he will record each one, but not where each one will take you when you hear it.
Sonic Arboretum is on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art through May 10.
The Institute of Contemporary Art is an art museum and exhibition space located in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. The museum was founded as the Boston Museum of Modern Art in 1936 with a mission to exhibit contemporary art.
I will present brand new Sculpture/Sonics: Aero Dynamisms April 11- May 31 at the Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago. One system will present music through a choreographed duet of spinning horns (creating an acoustic phase shifting/Doppler effect) and two rafts of static horn speakers connected to 10 channels of single-ended tube amplified audio from iPod Nanos via my nano-sync apparatus.
Another system, is comprised of 8 beautiful, never before seen individual horn shapes powered by a single ended 8 channel triode powered electron tube Octoblock amplifier.
The music is mixed to 8 channels – and emanates from the 8 horn shapes, each representing different members of a chamber orchestra. This system presents a new type of compositional tool via a Mac Book Air.
Sound content for both systems will be new compositions by Glenn Kotche with performances by eighth blackbird and Kronos Quartet – pre-recorded as digital data on iPod Nanos and separate compositions on the laptop system.
This installation will create a spatial sonic atmosphere imbued with a phantom chamber orchestra playing music through sculpture.
The digital technology feeds directly into 1940’s eratube technology/topology, marrying the past to the present.
The stunning contrast between the two technologies represents time travel and creates quite a beautiful sensation through a brand new type of aural presentation that can only be experienced on location.
The show runs through May 31 and I dare say, that a visit apart from the opening for a more private experience should provide an astonishing and playfully surreal experience.
Aero Dynamisms opens Friday April 11 5-8 pm.
Packer Schopf Gallery 942 W. Lake St. Chicago IL 60607 312.226.8984
We are so excited to premier new music by Glenn Kotche at this solo exhibition in Chicago at Packer Schopf Gallery this spring. Kotche’s dynamic music will showcase the sonic capabilities of Schneller’s Horn Speakers and Tube Amplifiers and give lift to the movement and beauty of Ian Schneller’s pirouetting Aerosel sculptures.
Ian Schneller will present his Aerosel sculptures with his unique sound installation of sculptural horn speakers and handmade tube amplifiers – integrating early electronic technology with modern digital components to create an aural and visual atmosphere that can only be experienced on site.
Mark your calendar for Friday April 11 5-8 pm. Come to celebrate the opening with us – or check out the show by May 31 to experience Aero Dynamisms and talk with gallerist Aron Packer about this unique exhibit.
Packer Schopf Gallery
942 W. Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60607