You may have heard of Stephen Vitiello, a sound artist familiar to any close follower of 12k, who released his wonderful collaboration, the Gorilla Variations, with Molly Berg. Back in 1999 Stephen was given a residency in an unoccupied office on the 91st floor of Tower One at the World Trade Center. With contact microphones fastened to the windows, he converted one of the world’s tallest buildings into the world’s largest microphone, the vertiginous glass curtain acting as a distended microphonic diaphragm. The resulting recordings depict a sound world beyond the reach of most human beings; even beyond the reach of most of humanity’s edifices. We hear wind and street traffic, the bellow of a ship in New York Harbor, and can even pick out an occasional voice from the streets a thousand feet below. Unsettlingly, there are several planes in the air, and the building itself creaks like an old wooden ship, straining against the torquing of its frame in the howling gales of Hurricane Floyd. Vitiello also employed photo-sensitive cells at the eye-end of a telescope to translate discreet light sources in the late-night New York skyline into eerie aural ghosts of the visual world.
The album is available to download care of The Radiant Now
TRN 247: Stephen Vitiello