Specimen Audio – Aerosel Takes Flight

[T]he Aerosel project began back in the summer of 2010 after our Sonic Arboretum show at the Guggenheim in NYC. Part of that trip included a visit to Coney Island. Inspired by the beauty of structures like the vintage Cyclone roller coaster and remnants of the old parachute drop and other death-defying structures which haven’t been used for years, Ian set about creating an aerodynamic version of his horn speakers that would not only recall these inspirations, but take horn shapes to a radical new level.

Incorporating his beloved octagon, he set about making the new horns using dowel rods, fiberboard, and plywood – a method similar to building ‘stick and tissue’ airplanes from early aviation. He covered part of the first Aerosel horn in aircraft covering, tightly shrinking it across the horn’s vertical planes.

The resulting sculpture was to be the form for a mold, but it became clear that is was far too beautiful to sacrifice (as forms can be destroyed in the mold-making process). Hanging in the shop, the undulating horn captivated many people, including our dear friend Andrew Bird. Ian discussed various uses for the Aerosel horns and sent a movie of it to Andrew’s Lighting Designer, Ryan Murphy, who immediately saw the potential for shadow play on stage. In January, Ian and the Specimen crew began generating six new shapes ranging in size from 4 – 7 feet. The first two are going to Europe tomorrow as Andrew begins touring in support of his new album, Break it Yourself. The other four will join the US leg of the tour next week. It should be spectacular!