Inside every speaker you’ve ever seen is a cone that does one very simple thing: it moves up and it moves down. As it does, that cone bumps into air, which bumps into more air, which bumps into more and more air and then bounces off walls and floors and objects and bodies and eventually, if you’re close enough, bumps right into your ear drum.
At the heart of Shiver Lung 3 are two subwoofer speaker cones doing their thing: moving up and moving down. But here, for the bulk of the piece, the subs are moving so slowly we can’t actually hear the sound they make. Performers slide their palms and fingernails and chains and pieces of paper and rattles and chimes across the surfaces of these subs while they shake, drawing them into the realm of audibility through touch.
This is a one take, 30-minute improvisation recorded during the PEOPLE festival at the Funkhaus in Berlin on August 17, 2018. Jason Treuting and I play subwoofers while Bryce Dessner (electric guitar and harmonium), Aaron Dessner (piano) and David Chalmin (percussion) build a thick harmonic web around us. Thanks to John Lowe for his expert ears and recording finesse.