Watch Andrew Bird Perform Under The Hyperion Bridge In Los Angeles
By Bob Boilen
There’s a brilliant new instrumental project from violinist Andrew Bird. Echolocations: River takes its musical inspiration from landscapes and environments with distinctive acoustics.
Today we have a film of Andrew Bird performing under the Hyperion bridge in Los Angeles’s Atwater Village. An earlier Echolocations project was recorded at the Coyote Gulch canyons of Utah in 2015. Andrew wrote us to explain how these compositions take shape.
“Each Echolocations environment is chosen because it has a distinct acoustic character. Some are entirely natural like the canyon in Utah but most are an amalgam of the urban and natural worlds. All curiously involve bodies of water, our elemental through line. The L.A. river began as a natural body of water that was completely paved over and more recently has been forced back to being an artificial wetland. I composed this record standing in the river beneath the old Glendale/Hyperion Bridges which are at slightly different angles creating these elliptical patches of light. In acoustics, as with visuals, total symmetry can be confusing and unpleasant. This spot has so many random varied surfaces which are very good for sound. As with all Echolocations, I send out sound waves with violin, voice, whistles, and claps, wait to hear what notes tell me the most about where I am and build compositions from there.The compositions on River take some dystopian turns and that seemed appropriate. You just have to look at the L.A. river as it passes under Highway 5 to wonder what kind of world we have wrought.”
The album Echolocations: River came out in October via Wegawam Music.