The long journey to Tierceron began during a 2018 Senso di Voce performance that took place in Buffalo, NY’s storied Silo City, a complex of decommissioned grain elevators on the banks of the Buffalo River that has been host to numerous musical performances, art installations, and other artistic activity; a creative turn on the city’s industrial history. During this performance, Henry Birdsey, who was working as a recording engineer at the concert, made several impulse response recordings of the space that could then be used to digitally re-create the unique acoustics of the concrete silo compound.
One year later in 2019, Birdsey and Senso di Voce reconvened at Avaloch Farm Music Institute in Boscawen, NH, where in rural surroundings they improvised through the virtual industrial acoustics of Silo City recorded by Birdsey, a reconciling of memory that writer Liam Herb describes as “equal parts fireflies and lilac and twisted iron and concrete.” The generous blanket of hard-edged reverb allows the instrumental and vocal timbres to blend, entangle, and differentiate in unanticipated ways that disrupt our expectations of improvised music. Senso di Voce and Henry Birdsey play with notions of site-specific music, imagined and real acoustics existing simultaneously, gently guiding and defining the group’s improvisation. A new perspective on what it means to “Be There.”
The seven movements of Tierceron are improvised, each of the three musicians drawing from starkly different backgrounds. Oboist Megan Kyle’s background in orchestras and new music ensembles intersects with vocalist Esin Gunduz’s experience with Anatolian vocal styles, improvised music, and as a composer. Their long history of working as a duo no doubt contributes to their precision even in free musical contexts. Birdsey is a consistent presence in underground music, known through his extensive work with Tongue Depressor and as a solo artist (including his album Half-Dragged, released on Other Minds Records in 2021). These three disparate contexts blend into a work that is delicately textural and light and at the same time it’s arresting and engaging. Tierceron sits in an unknown territory between free improvisation’s skitters and scrambles and drone’s swirling weight and density.