Forests: A Parallax View in Music

By Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

“To speak truly, few adult persons can see Nature.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

It’s been said that wilderness holds answers to questions we have not yet learned to ask. Here’s a question: How would you make a composition out of a forest? Would you have instruments made from wood? Well, that’s already been done for hundreds of years—every single instrument that influences our modern sensibility comes from wood or metal. But what about the information that forests generate? That’s what I thought about when I began work on a symphony about forests.

It’s been decades since Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer coined the term “soundscape” but for me, a 21st century update is the term “acoustic environment.” It’s an idea that informs my work, and that give me inspiration for a project that, at core,is as much about the collision between code and culture, as it is about the massive disruption of the ecosystem.