Sound art

Free Static Performs Live Score to Short Film "View of the Red Forest"

My sound project, Free Static, is performing a live score to a film by my friend and ECA colleauge Julia Oldham, in January and February. See the info below.

We’ve been working on this project for a few months now. Though we’ve performed it several times in rehearsal, it never comes out exactly the same. We only have a rough starting point for each section of the film. This makes it really exciting to perform, as we are still able to react to each other, as well as the film. Throughout the piece, I am manipulating a set of samples (some I’ve created, and some I’ve found), and Chris is working through a set of drones and rhythmic patterns on his modular synth. We both employ delay, reverb and ring modulation effects, so the sounds get pretty spacey and wild.

Free Static (Chris Ruiz and Courtney Stubbert) in the studio rehearsing for “View of the Red Forest” - photo by Julia Oldham

Free Static (Chris Ruiz and Courtney Stubbert) in the studio rehearsing for “View of the Red Forest” - photo by Julia Oldham

"View of the Red Forest" an installation by Julia Oldham with a special performance by Free Static

January 12

Oregon State University Woodshop Projects
Located in basement Room No. 004 in Fairbanks Hall, 220 SW 26th St., Corvallis  
Opening Reception Saturday, January 12, 7-9 PM

Performance at 8:00 PM - More information

February 16th - “Fallout Dogs” Eugene Premiere

Drawn Brands, 545 Monroe Street, Eugene, Oregon, 97402

This performance of “View of the Red Forest” also features the Eugene premier of Julia Oldham’s short film “Fallout Dogs” - a documentary about the stray dogs living in and around Chernobyl. Read about this event on ECA’s website.

Event begins at 7:30pm


About “View of the Red Forest”

Julia Oldham's multimedia installation "View of the Red Forest" is a portrait of both the dilapidation and rebirth of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, combining large prints of windows looking out of abandoned buildings onto lush landscapes with video documentation of Oldham's visit to the zone. For this project Oldham is teaming up with Free Static (Courtney Stubbert and Chris Ruiz), a Eugene-based improvisational sound duo blending modular synth and musique concréte. Free Static will perform a live score to the film in the installation space on Saturday, January 12 at 8:00 PM.


In April of 1986, an explosion in Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Power Plant in the Soviet Union precipitated the worst nuclear disaster in history. The explosion created an enormous dust cloud carrying deadly radioactive isotopes which spread across Europe, affecting much of eastern Europe and Scandinavia. The the most severe contamination, however, settled in what is now known as the Exclusion Zone, a 1000 square mile area in Ukraine surrounding the power plant. 

The Red Forest is a 4 square mile wooded area that received some of the highest levels of radioactive contamination resulting from the explosion. After absorbing huge doses of radiation, all of the trees died and turned a rusty red color, which is where the name of the area derives. In the clean-up effort, the forest was bulldozed and buried underground, and a new forest was planted to stabilize radioactive isotopes. The Red Forest is now green and beautiful, and both flora and fauna are flourishing in the absence of humans. It remains one of the most radioactive areas in the world.

New music project release - Free Static

Soundscapes are the new black

With no space to set up my drums for the last year or so, I’ve been getting into electronic music gear lately, and learning the ins and outs of running sound through delay, distortion and my Moog Ring Modulator pedals. I’ve also been making tape loops out of old cassettes and utilizing a 4 track recorder to sample and perform with. It’s been fun and frustrating at the same time. Old gear breaks easy. Your favorite tape loop will fall apart. Your guitar pedal batteries will die on you in the middle of a session. But I’ve made a point to stay away from laptop based music, in favor of making sounds with actual hardware you can perform with.

What started out as a group of guys getting together, playing records, and talking about music, turned into a few of us improvising instrumental jam sessions at my former studio space (RIP my old friend). That party shrunk to just two of us and we decamped to my friend Chris Ruiz’s hacienda studio. Unable to play my drums in a quite neighborhood, we started making layered found-sound pieces utilizing everything from hand percussion, non-musical objects, tape loops, modular synths, and the occasion homemade spring resonator.  

Free Static S/T is out now

After about a year of recording sessions, we curated a handful of tracks and release our first project this past July. The project is called Free Static, and you can hear our self-titled, 6 track release on our Bandcamp page. It’s a free downloadFREE

We are putting together a limited edition cassette release (you read that correct) and I’ll announce that as soon as it’s out. I know half of you still have a cassette deck somewhere.


Coming up in January and February we are performing a live score to a short film about Chernobyl made by my artist and colleague at Eugene Contemporary Art, Julia Oldham. We will be announcing time and locations for Corvallis and Eugene performances very soon.