I was approached to create a short piece based on a cutting taken from a large artwork donated by Ken Horne, member and manager at ROAR. I was also asked to provide a brief explanation of my approach.
My first reaction to the cutting was how familiar the image looked to the style of various graphic scores I've seen, played from and composed. My first step was to tag the work with sticky notes on which I wrote my immediate reactions so I could then spend more time thinking about the soundscape I might create...I was given just two weeks!
Noticing the controlled ranges of colours and shapes and how they seemed to move across the page filled my imagination with ideas of an open wind-swept landscape and the sounds of small unseen creates moving in their own unique way. This prompted me to use a mixture of found objects which included a metal filing cabinet, screws and pieces of wood as well as traditional instruments; I knew I would need to spend time sitting and playing with the unfamiliar sounding objects to find out what they are capable of. I recorded the instruments and sounding objects using a combination of contact and ambient microphones to try and create texture in the sounds themselves. In the end, I edited in some changes of volume and panning, as well as cleaning up some of the chops and gaps using Logic Pro X for the Mac.
This experience has reminded me how much I enjoy improvisation working from a score and also brought back some buried thoughts on improvisation and composition.
Listen to the Unnamed Soundscape
Last weekend I had the pleasure of working from Wentworth Woodhouse as part of ROAR's fifth gathering of local artists and arts organisations. The day began by meeting fellow artists which I find quite relaxing as I enjoy the social aspects of the arts, especially talking about art, music and the way other people work. Artists came from around South Yorkshire for a day of art and conversation in the Grade 1 listed building.
We were given a tour of the house and grounds, including the space we would later choose to work in for the day. Two rooms struck me immediately: the first was the Marble Hall, designed c.1725 by John Carr of York. This 60ft square hall, finished with Italian marble, is an astounding space. The reflection of both light and sound is impressive and has given me plenty to think about since my visit! I would love to compose a piece of music especially for this room - one which makes full use of the amplification and reverberation of this amazing space: all sounds seem impossibly loud, yet truly loud sounds fly from corner to corner! I felt as though I could listen to this space for a good while.
The second room was the Painted Drawing Room which was used in several scenes for the TV show Wives and Daughters in the late 1990s. The room is decorated with images depicting the human senses, painted directly onto the walls! This seemed the perfect room for me and I positioned myself in the corner which depicted sound and music.
The light was pale and the room cold but it was serenely quiet. This was perfect for finishing the second movement of a piece I am writing for the Great Places Scheme, which saw a research excavation take place on a site near the Elsecar Heritage Centre, which is directly connected to the history of Wentworth Woodhouse.
If you've not visited Wentworth Wood house, I urge you to do so - the rooms and gardens are spectacular! The roof is currently being replaced with new tiles. For a small fee you can have your own tile inscribed with whatever you wish, to become part of the house's history.
Lots of fun at the third ROAR Gathering at The Factory this weekend!
I was delighted to exhibit two pieces: Questioner, 1863 and Apprentice. These pieces demonstrated my use of video in creating realtime scores for musical improvisation, as well as silent video art aimed at generating an imagined sonic experiences.
The large concrete space carried the flute sounds of Questioner, 1863, creating dream-like apparitions throughout The Factory, while the darkness of the projection room provided excellent contrast to the hands seen in Apprentice.
Collecting feedback through exhibition is essential and although there was some competition with the royal wedding, football cup finals and delightful weather, many artists were presenting work. Discussing exhibiting artists' sculptures and pieces of audiovisual installation with them inspired me to think about new ways of working for exhibition.
Throughout April, ROAR are hosting their third iteration of the Hung exhibition, where artists are invited to create and contribute pieces by hanging their work in the provided spaces around the gallery.
I saw this as a perfect chance to come up with a piece for the gallery which hosts my teaching studio as I had not yet composed anything specifically for them! I wanted to provoke the viewer into considering what a musical notation actually is, or what it could be. I created a score which provides the performer with some rather tricky decisions. Some musicians would consider this to not be a completed score, others would enjoy the freedom the score provides.
The score provides some indication of pitch, rhythm and dynamic but meter, bar line clef and instrument(s) are absent. As the score is somewhat indeterminate I have no idea what sound it would produce if played.
I have composed several indeterminate pieces in my short years as a composer, but I have not done so for some time and really enjoyed working on this short notation.
I have no idea how fast, slow or long the piece is (any time), exactly what instruments may be used, nor exactly what pitches would be revealed through performance (any place).
Any time, any place (2018) is available for download from my Compositions page.
I always welcome your input, so any questions or comments on this or anything else on the website can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
I've added a Compositions section to the website!
A selection of pieces have been added along with sound and/or video files and performance notes.
Great news! Today I received confirmation that my Masters Degree (compositions and thesis), Sound in an Alternative Medium has passed with Distinction!
So, what’s next?
The launch of my exhibition at Access Space in Sheffield was a success! Thank you to all who came down to see and discuss the work in person - I very much enjoyed the chance to get feedback and discuss various ideas with the group.
The two pieces from my MA portfolio, Syncretism and Apprentice, are still being exhibited at Access Space until the 15th June, 2017.
Please check out information about Access Space and the exhibition.
I am pleased to announce the first exhibition of two pieces from my MA portfolio: Syncretism and Apprentice.
Access Space in Sheffield has agreed to show these two works along with a brief discussion from myself on the opening night. The event opens on July 1st at 5:30pm and will be shown for two weeks.
Further information about Access Space and the exhibition can be found here.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post for the University of Huddersfield’s press blog in which he discusses the experience of publishing with their open access journal, Fields.
I also included some details about how this experience, and that of speaking at a conference in support of the published work, had an impacted on his current research at the University as a postgraduate researcher.
I was selected to speak about his recent publication at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research, 2016.
This was an amazing opportunity to discuss my work and gain even more experience in public speaking.
Many thanks go to Katherine Jensen for organising the whole thing!
If you have any questions, comments, queries, or would like to know more about the work, please do get in touch via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org