It’s hard to believe an entire year has gone by since my crew and I set foot on the Eiffel Tower on May 27, 2013 to harvest its sounds for a musical opus. Today’s honors go to them (l.-r.): Franc Palaia, Kyle Griffin, Paul Kozel, Joe Popp, Joseph Bertolozzi, Robert Bellach, Jeff Gertin and Joseph Redwood-Martinez.
The team hailed from NYC, Beacon, Poughkeepsie and Rochester NY, Nevada and Arizona (via Turkey!). Intense preparations and conference calls for months (for me years) and two delayed arrivals (Franc Palaia our photographer had a 48-hour delay!) led us to eleven days of “guerilla” recording: five to eight hours a day battling crowds, cold and rain, 35-40 mph winds, the occasional irate laborer or security guard who didn’t care if we had credentials or not, followed by another three to four hours back at the apartment cataloging, uploading and backing up our work, or shopping to replenish supplies.
However it also led to a once-in-a-lifetime experience of the Eiffel Tower:
- We captured its sounds, creating an archive of its “voice” from basement to summit
- We visited restricted areas usually off-limits to the public
- We made new friendships with the staff, office workers and security of the Eiffel Tower
- We interacted with a genuinely interested public and press
Back in the USA it took a couple months to get my home studio up to snuff with a new computer, monitors, audio interfaces and software. Then a grueling four months of listening to, identifying, comparing, naming and cataloging ten thousand samples followed. Now I sit several months after that with four finished works of Tower Music / Musique de la Tour behind me and the remainder ahead of me.
Where once this project was all about phone calls and letters and meetings and financing and interminable waiting, it is now about its original purpose: the music. It is truly a satisfying place to be.