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Annea Lockwood

Annea Lockwood

Annea Lockwood’s compositions range from sound art and environmental sound installations to concert music. Recent works include Becoming Air, co-composed with Nate Wooley, trumpet, Wild Energy with Bob Bielecki - a site-specific installation focused on geophysical, atmospheric and mammalian infra and ultra sound sources, permanently installed at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Katonah New York, and Into the Vanishing Point, co-composed with the ensemble Yarn/Wire – a meditation on the large-scale disappearance of insect populations. Water has been a recurring focus of her work and her three installation sound maps of rivers: The Hudson River, the Danube and the Housatonic River have been widely presented. Her music has been issued on CD, vinyl and online on the Gruenrekorder, Black Truffle, Superior Viaduct, Lovely Music, New World, Ambitus, 3Leaves, XI, EM and other labels. She is a recipient of the SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021.

Annea Lockwood-Housatonic-River.jpg

I am fascinated by the multi-layered complexity of the sounds created by moving water, and have been exploring rivers for many years. An aural scan is a different experience from a visual scan – more intimate, I find. The energy flow of a river can be sensed very directly through the sound created by the friction between current and bank, current and riverbed. 


A Sound Map of the Housatonic River is a sonic map, tracing the course of the river from the sources in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts to the river’s mouth at Milford, Long Island Sound. During the 19th and 20th centuries the river was industrialized, and extensively polluted by paper mills and by GE with PCBs and other toxic substances, but since the 1970s local action and a Wetlands Protection Act (Massachusetts 1972) are steadily improving water quality and the river’s ecology. The EPA’s remediation plan, now in its fifteenth year, generated controversy again this year, however.  


Here are the first twenty-two minutes of the Sound Map, taking you through the three branches forming the Housatonic: the East Branch, the Southwest Branch and the West Branch down to Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield, Mass. The second site, Muddy Pond, the source of the East Branch was recorded both at the surface and underwater. 


This work is also a multi-channel installation and has been presented in that form in Brussels, London, New York, Edmonton, Glasgow and Wellington. It was issued on CD by the 3LEAVES label in 2012. 

I spend my summers on Flathead Lake in Northwest Montana, a lake formed by the Flathead River, where I recorded the deliciously tuned plops and gurgles with which this piece opens, in 2012. I was able to set my microphone in amongst the rocks forming the shoreline, very close to the water. Later that year on the Hudson River, at the Hoboken Ferry Terminal in New Jersey, I was struck by the sounds generated by the metal gangplanks, and returned to record on a windy day. Each time a boat passed, or docked, the gangplanks’ overlapping sections produced intricate textures, resonating strongly in the hangar-like terminal. Buoyant is the interplay of these sources, together with a boat basin on Lake Como, an old windmill and the snap and crunch of bocce balls on a sandy pitch. 


Buoyant was released on a CD titled Ground of Being on the Recital label in 2014. 

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