Dry Tree Alive on Oak Street

2 min readMar 29, 2023


with Glass Canyon Ensemble
Collision Theory
(released Feb 2022 on the Chicago label Amalgam)

Recorded live at the Hideout, Chicago

Caged birds are compelled to “migratory restlessness”, termed as Zugunruhe.

. . .

Caged birds suddenly,
inexplicably flutter,
fly into cage walls.

A primordial pull;
forces at odds, restlessness
never meant to be.
. . .

Ice age vestiges
fuel accelerationist
anthropocene dreams.

They’re on their smoke break.
AON Center interrupts
aeons of bird flow.

Elston, Milwaukee, Clybourn —
grids overlay flows; trade winds,
desire paths shape cities.

Sometimes when i walk
straight lined flat land, sun sets
into fire canyon.

Light blinds, i look down —
Five thousand miled visitor
claimed by distant ground.
. . .

High above Chicago
i remember the dry tree
alive on Oak Street.

Light glints on flight wing,
clouded eyes scan a map the
size of the city.

My sister’d rushed to
listen closely, to record
the city speaking,

pulsating with sound.
How many species of birds
call the city home?
. . .

Six million citizens
Seven million winged migrations
Whose city is it?
. . .

Rob Frye — compositions, woodwinds
Satya — compositions, voice, words
Nick Alvarez — drums, percussion
Max Beckman — bass
Oli Harris — cello
Ben Lamar Gay — flugelhorn

Daniel Chamberlin — Collision Mandala videos
Alex Inglizian — recording engineer
Bill Harris — mastering engineer

The cover image includes photos of window-strike birds taken by Rob Frye while monitoring with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors in 2021

(Left to right) Brown Thrashers are mimicking birds known to have one of the most extensive repertoires of any North American species, with individuals vocalizing up to 3000 songs. In much of North America, the Yellow-rumped Warbler is one of the most common warblers, and the only one that remains in winter. The Blackburnian Warbler’s bright orange throat is a colorful reminder of the neotropical migrants that have used the Mississippi Flyway/Chicago region for many thousands of years.

Thanks to Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, Experimental Sound Studio, MoSI and The Institute for Bird Populations.

All of the proceeds from Collision Theory donated to CBCM, Chicago Bird Collision Monitors and MoSI, the Monitoreo Sobrevivencia Invernal, a collaborative international network of monitoring stations in the Northern neotropics.

This project was partially funded by a grant from Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Individual Artist Program.
#ChicagoDCase #DCaseGrants

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cover image of album Collision Theory by Glass Canyon Ensemble