Trees Made of Air

4th April 2022

Films Psappha

Composer George Stevenson on how his track Trees Made of Air was shaped by memories of the inimitable physicist Richard Feynman.

Richard Feynman questioned absolutely everything. It made him one of the greatest minds in 20th century theoretical physics, but also the most marvellous explainer of things. With unique perspective and irresistible enthusiasm, he drew our attention to the strange and beautiful truths behind even the most familiar of things.

"And so it turns out that trees are made of air! When they burn, they go back to air, releasing the flaming heat of the Sun which converted the air to a tree in the first place!"

Feynman’s infectious curiosity became entwined with this music as it began to evolve around re-discovering wonder in the familiar - from the bizarre elegance and raw energy of natural processes, to a renewed interest in some purer musical building blocks. The flow of the piece also emulates Feynman’s way of explaining things - a relentless questioning of the same phenomena from different angles, leading to a deeper and stranger view of reality. 

“Fire” from the BBC series FUN TO IMAGINE with Richard Feyman, first broadcast in July 1983.

Trees Made of Air is one of seven works featured on Psappha's new album Commissions, released 25 March and available to buy now.

Listen to 'Trees Made of Air'


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