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Spectral Organ / Feedback Gong

by Antti Tolvi

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From Antti Tolvi

Here’s a little about each of these pieces.

Spectral Organ was played and recorded with no over dubs in Kemiö Island, in a 14th century church on 22/9/2019.

We have these acoustically amazing spaces even in the smallest villages and towns in Finland. In every space there are these unique & solid, super complex analog wave generators ready to play. You just need to get in and turn the wave generator on. Even this particular, very basic church organ has around 2200 tuned pipes. That ’s a lot of pipes, no matter how you think about it. The number of pipes in an average church organ is around 1600-2400. The biggest church organs in Finland has more than 5000 pipes, such as the Cathedrals in Lapua and Turku, and soon also in Helsinki Music house. Because of high amount of pipes and the fact they are often not so well tuned, all kind of interesting microtonal intervals are easily found. 

The idea in this piece is to create static spectral sound sculpture. An invisible, in situ, air sculpture. A sculpture where you can enter, stay and leave. It is a kind of floating architecture inside the visible architecture. This sculpture will always be different in each different church.

In this recording I play almost whole piece just by slowly opening and closing the stops. This organ luckily has mechanical stops. In some organs stops work with electricity. Usually this means that stops are either completely open or close, not anywhere between. This limits notably the amount of colors you can get out of organ. You will loose the possibility to slide from tone to tone.

The second piece, Feedback gong is a recording made as part of a sound / light installation I completed in early 2020. The installation was premiered at B Gallery Turku in midsummer 2019.

The installation has on-going feedback though a 20” gong cymbal. The cymbal hangs between two microphones and a 15” speaker with out any physical contact. Feedback Gong has a pretty similar invisible sculpture idea as the first piece does. Here we give the most delicate decision to the feedback circuit. These small differences and variations make alter the sound and create the nature of the piece.

The idea for this installation came from composer Jay Schawartz. I heard his wonderful music (Delta - Music for Orchestra IV) for the first time in Music Nova Helsinki festival 2019. After the concert I did some research of his previous works and found his piece Music for Autosonic Gongs. It has a similar idea of using the feedback to generate sounds out from gong. 


released July 8, 2022


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