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Published: September 18, 2023

Associate Professor of Music's New Album Recorded in Ferman Center for the Arts

Associate professor of music Bradford Blackburn’s new album, "When Gaia Falls," expresses a call to action to protect the environment and biodiversity.  

Associate Professor of Music New Album Recorded in Ferman Center for the ArtsAssociate professor of music Bradford Blackburn’s new album, "When Gaia Falls," expresses a call to action to protect the environment and biodiversity.

The album was recorded in the Ferman Center for the Arts recording studio and features Blackburn’s ecopoetry spoken by Robert Gonzalez, associate professor emeritus of theatre, as well as musical performances by current students and alumni of the music program, and other guest artists.  

The album was largely inspired by the sounds of nature. To reflect this, Blackburn recorded immersive soundscapes in places like Myakka River State Park, and composed music in different genres to dramatically convey the ecological message of the album.

As he was writing the poetry, Blackburn said he had Gonzalez’s voice in mind. Gonzalez has a “natural genius for interpreting text with emotional resonance.” Blackburn said he decided to use poetry because he wanted the message to be delivered in a way people would find relatable. With poetry, it is possible to be both elegant and precise, making it a gentle persuasion tool, he said.  

According to Blackburn, Gaia, in this context, refers to the way all living things depend on each other and the environment for survival. Similarly, he stated that the name of the album is meant to evoke the impact of humanity on the environment. Our time has become urgent,” he said, stating we all have to make an individual effort to make the situation better.  

The album features a blend of  both acoustic and electronic elements, conveying a narrative about organic life being preserved in the memory of a future artificial intelligence, Blackburn explained. In a science fiction twist that concludes the album, the A.I. of the future longs for a world that has ceased to exist, and makes a plea to present-day humanity to take action, by calling to us across time, said Blackburn. 

What he hopes people take away from the album is to recognize that protecting ecosystems begins with each of us — there are things we can all do to improve the future, Blackburn said.

Listen to the Album

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