Glen Rose Formation
A sonic journey into the hill country with Cecily Parks, Bob Hoffnar, and Mary McGrath Curry
[ ALBUM ]
Stuart Hyatt’s projects are site-based and collaborative in nature, often forging creative relationships with unlikely partners in the realization of new music and artwork. Emerging from these collaborations is work tied to the unique energy of a place and its people. For this project, commissioned by the Texas State Galleries, Hyatt traveled throughout the region and into the hill country, and inspired by its geologic features, ultimately ended up deep underground in the Cave Without a Name in Boerne, TX.
When exploring the Cave Without a Name, Hyatt was taken by the acoustic properties of the space, and brought together a team of audio engineers to determine the resonant bass frequencies in the cave. These frequencies form the musical foundation of the album’s compositions. Hyatt was able to track down and record 89-year-old Mary McGrath Curry, who discovered the cave as a young girl. Side A of the album features four suites of pedal steel and orchestral ambiance, while side B offers remixed interpretations of the suites by Dntel, Matmos, Lusine, Rafiq Bhatia, and Luke Abbott.
Glen Rose Formation was released by Temporary Residence Limited, as part of a seven-album Field Works vinyl LP boxed set.
[ concert ]
MARCH 3, 2018, 7 P.M.
CAVE WITHOUT A NAME
The Field Works collective premiered the album with a sold-out live performance from deep inside the Cave Without a Name. In premiering this uniquely site-responsive music, the ensemble essentially “played the cave itself.” For this special event, Field Works consisted of Bob Hoffnar (pedal steel), Janie Cowan (string bass), Seulki Lee, Akshaya Tucker, and Rylie Harrod (cellos), Casey Martin (trumpet), Tom Hale, Caroline Steiger, and Jacob Schnitzer (French horns), Billy Masters (electric guitar), and a student horn ensemble from Texas State University.
[ EXHIBITION ]
FEBRUARY 5 – MARCH 9, 2018
OPENING FEBRUARY 5, 2018, 5 – 6 P.M.
Hyatt installed an exhibition at the Texas State Galleries that attempted to bring the viewer into his own experience in the hill country. He considers the recording of nature’s sounds to be an almost spiritual experience—a kind of reverence via documentation. The name Glen Rose Formation comes from the fossil-rich strata of rock that transect this region. A video projection, filmed by Hyatt during his visits, expressed this exquisite layering and superimposed Mary’s reading of the poem “What if the Luminous,” a poem by Cecily Parks. The large wall assemblage of Texas geologic maps were wired up for their "geophony" (a term popularized by American musician and soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause to describe earth sounds). Vintage vitrines contained mysterious artifacts representing the region.
Neil Fauerso, "Stuart Hyatt and Heather Scott Peterson Turn on the Lights, ”Glasstire, February 24, 2018.
Luke Quinton, “Stuart Hyatt pens a suite for Cave Without a Name,” Sightlines, February 28, 2018.
Glen Rose Formation concert at Cave Without a Name featured on Texas Public Radio, KSTX, March 2, 2018.
Cecily Parks, "Three Poems, by Cecily Parks" (Cave Without a Name), Conjunctions (On-line), March 13, 2018.
Marielle Saums, “Stuart Hyatt, documenting the poetic sounds of planet Earth,” CLOT Magazine, October 18, 2018. Interview with Stuart Hyatt about Metaphonics: The Complete Field Works Recordings.
Abi Bliss, “Print Run: New Music Books,” The Wire Magazine, November 2018. Review of Metaphonics: The Complete Field Works Recordings.
I am deeply indebted to Mary McGrath Curry for her generous time contributing to this project. Also Cecily Parks, for writing the poem “What if the Luminous,” which appears in the gallery’s film projection and wall text. Huge thanks to Bob Hoffnar, who expertly transformed the album’s music from sketches and sounds to full orchestral suites. Soomin Jung, thank you for evocative album art. Deep appreciation for Asa Gauen, who edited the short film. Thanks to Todd Ahlman and the Center for Archaeological Studies for lending us artifacts from their archive. Amazing gallery prep by Rebecca Marino, Sawyer Hewitt, Gabi Martinez, Glenn Edinburgh, Marissa Servantez, Jose Estrada. And finally Margo Handwerker, who trusted me to make something special here.