Moncton artist bringing back sounds of former Sackville Radio-Canada towers

A Moncton artist has brought back to life the sounds of the 13 CBC Radio-Canada International shortwave towers that once stood in Sackville, N.B. on the Tantramar Marsh.

"It's kind of like you're conjuring ghosts of radio towers," explained the artist Amanda Dawn Christie on Shift N.B.

Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter 

The experimental sound art project Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter involves a scale model of the original towers, but a large model — about 16-metres wide, six-metres deep and five-metres tall.

Christie said the towers have red lights resembling the originals. They are made from pipes with four copper pads on each tower.

She added that when someone touches one of the copper pads, a wireless signal is sent to a computer, which then sends a sound file back to that tower of the actual, recorded sound the original tower made when it was operational. The sound is transmitted through a speaker on the model tower.

Christie recorded the towers' sounds when they were still standing.

But the model towers are more than something to be gazed upon and admired. They are musical instruments that Christie and two other musicians will be playing at one-hour performances on May 26 and 27 at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in Moncton. The performances will also be broadcast on radio stations in Moncton, Montreal and New York.

"We're going to compose the work based on the structure of a classical requiem, or mass for the dead," she said.

Playing the towers will also have corresponding images of the actual tower during the performance. The performance will also involve a cello with a bow made from the bone of a cow that once roamed near the towers.

"It's kind of magical," she said.

Christie's fascination with the towers also inspired her to create a documentary.

The towers stood for 67 years until budget cuts ended their service. The towers started coming down in March 2014.