Assembly - Organ and Birds at Pella Desert Church

by Tony Dupé

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The story of the Pella recordings

These recordings are live improvisations between pipe organ and desert birds created near Rainbow in Western Victoria, Australia.

Below is some background on the project and how it came about.

Tony Dupé is a producer of mainly song-based music, who has worked for the past two decades outside of the mainstream studio system. He has undertaken a large number of recording projects in unconventional recording spaces including churches, community halls, and houses in rural areas, which has resulted in many well reviewed and commercially successful releases.

The artists would typically come from the city and stay in the country while the recordings were made. These buildings were lacking professional acoustic treatment and isolation therefore allowing a noticeable amount of external sound inside. While these sounds were not always welcome, he began to notice that this bleed had the potential to give extra contextual information about the lyrics, the music, or the sounds themselves within the finished track. For many artists, these sounds had the ability to function as a sort of “place stamp” - a lovely reminder of the time and space in which the recording was made, and also for the listeners whose headphone listens would take them deeper into the experience. This idea that they actually belong to the composition aligns with John Cage’s concept of the inclusivity of environmental sound and also connects to compositional practice in musique concrete, field recording and sound art.

He investigated these connections in a recording project which aimed to include techniques and theories from these fields to create and frame a work in a remote desert church in Australia. The hope to was to bring these sounds into the recording space as an intentional part of the composition.

The Pella Desert Church album is the result of that project whereby he spent 5 days alone on the site of a 100 year old German Lutheran stone church on the periphery of the desert in rural Victoria, Australia . He placed microphones inside and outside and created an inflow of sound by feeding the outside microphones into transducers (speakers) inside the church where they were mounted to the floor and church pews. Inside the church he played a 19th century pipe organ in direct engagement with this reamped outside sound resonating within the church.

Upon concept it was uncertain what sound the outside mics would bring in but something wonderful occurred and the recordings convey a magical, vivid conversation of inter-species improvisation. The reverberant pipe organ as a timbral fingerprint for western art music is disrupted and dislocated in its conversation with singing desert birds in raucous performance whilst the vast empty landscape mapped the scene.


released November 21, 2019


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Tony Dupé Melbourne, Australia

Tony Dupé is interested in sound, song, place, people, stories, performance, space, instruments, character and aspires to make things that are both unfamiliar and familiar.

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