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Wooden Ox Or Barew Music

Featured on BBC Radio 3, Wooden Ox is a series of 10 audio-video performances recorded between January and May 2021 throughout the Sonoran Desert in Southern Arizona. This collection of discrete compositions uncouple numerous instruments from their conventional acoustic tones and usages. While not present in every work, Saxophone takes the central role in several performances. "Barew" is a Middle English word from an older term "bearwe"; which means "to carry", and is what we currently refer to as "barrow" (ex. wheelbarrow), a device used for carrying loads. Each instrument(s) in this series is treated as an object of possibility prior to it being acted upon as a strictly music instrument. As objects of possibility, they each carry the weight of their specific construction and embodied lexicon while also contorting and abandoning those basic restrictions. All 10 works occur in open desert terrain and the ambient soundscape of each place finds its way into the recording, either as an intentional auxiliary instrument or as happenstance of that time and place's volume. Wind, sand and wood accompany the actions made by Ruehlen's movements. Binding, amplifying and obstructing instruments allows the performer to touch and hear, to grapple with, the object in unfamiliar ways. As with much of Ruehlen's work spanning at least the last six years, he uses a personalized, off-grid electro-acoustic set-up where a live audience is absent and occurs in isolated, outdoor settings.


You can listen to the entire album, released on Unsilent Desert Press, HERE

Below are videos of each performance which are an element of the CD release on UDP.

Tethered Air Zones - An Arrangement For Soprano Saxophone / Dirt Mounds / Bells / Rope / Shovel / Rake / Plow / Loudspeaker / Microphones / Mixer / Wind

Turnt Mirrors For Horn & Two Speakers - Commissioned For The Film "Experimental Arizona" 2021 / Iklectik Art Space (South London UK) / Curated By Jimmie Peggie (Phoenix AZ) / Soprano Saxophone / Pitched Mixer / Two Speakers

Topognostics 1 - A Composition For Alto Saxophone / Corrupted Mixer / Loops / Loudspeaker

A Basin or Stone And Wood - An Arrangement For Steel Pot / Modified Wooden Rod For Vibration / Sand / Movement

The Weight Of Falling Grains - Originally Composed For 2021 Co-Incidence Festival / / Composition For Sand Bag & Amplified Crash Cymbal

Lowing With The Mountain Spirits - Composition For Altered Soprano Horn / Loudspeaker / Wind

Pulse Beats & Broken Circles - A Composition For Piezo Amplified Alto Saxophone / Mixer / Irregular Circular Breathing / Loudspeaker / Wind

Xylem & Phloem Or Telephone Lines & Reflecting Pools - A Composition For Alto Saxophone / Corrupted Mixer / Loops / Loudspeaker

Dummy Trumpet - Composition For Altered Brass Mouthpiece / Steel Bowl / Bells / Wind

Wave Drag - A Composition For Gravel / Cinder Blocks / Steel Pot / Rope / Shovel / Brick / Bells / Harmonica / Radio Frequency 266.23 kHz At 6:20 PM

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