deep creatures

In September of 2002, I was asked by San Francisco artist Dawn Neal, with whom I collaborated on the Urban Cycles project, to compose a soundscape to accompany her work during San Francisco's Open Studios weekend(s).

Dawn was showing a new series of paintings titled Deep Creatures during her open studio, on the weekend of October 5.

More of Dawn's work can be seen here, but I am sad to report that that site has not been updated in some time. Since our collaborations, Dawn has retired from working in media such as this as a result of serious long-term repetitive strain injury. I hope that she is able to paint, and sculpt, and photograph, and design, again.

Deep Creatures was reinstalled at one point in Elliot Lessing's Build Gallery, also in San Francisco.



the other rooms
gauntánamo express

desert sun

the other side
on top of the world
what the thunder said
san francisco sauvignon

would you, would you?
invisible cities
deep creatures
vincent fecteau
monkey pod

Phlops (Dawn Neal)
Dawn Neal's phlops (2002), now in the Ximm Collection

Dawn asked for sound that would transform the environment in her studio in a way consistent with the Deep Creatures series, which I would characterise as elusive, beautiful without being brash. Most of the detail in the work waits for the viewer to attend to it, without drawing attention to itself.

My response was to create a burbling, retreating soundscape entirely with water sound; the final work is a slowly phasing layering of processed water recording: streams, waves, thunder, rain, the mysterious gurgle of irrigation...

One element in this piece is a sound recorded by a videographer during a dive Dawn and I made with Jack's Diving Locker earlier this year in Hilo, Hawaii. We had great dives with Jack's, especially a night dive to visit eight huge manta rays (the largest, 'Lefty,' had a 14' wingspan...) ~ the latter experience was one of the most amazing things I've experienced, above or below water. I lifted this sound from the DV tape of that drive we purchased from Jack's.

The piece was installed in a two-CD version, with two small sound systems playing the piece on either end of the studio space. The disks were intentionally played out of phase, in such a way that the rise and fall of either side created a constant feeling of surf rising and falling and moving back and forth through the room...

This soundscape is available as either a two-CD set of the original recordings (both disks identical); or as single CD version, mixed for playback on a conventional stereo.


deep creatures13.7 MB

Excerpt from a supporting soundscape for Dawn Neal's painting series, Deep Creatures.