23 June 2013

Nick Fells - arine, with Clive Bell, Melissa Holding & Robin Thompson

arine was made for the Okeanos ensemble for a concert at The Warehouse in London in 2009, part of Sound and Music’s Cutting Edge series. 
The title is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘touch’. The piece was developed through a series of workshops with Clive, Melissa and Robin, using discussion and improvisation to work towards what we considered appealing sonic materials. I was interested in how these sounds might work with the laptop processing I’d developed over recent years. I was also interested in the encounter that Clive, Melissa and Robin had with these Japanese instruments, both physically and in terms of their own personal musical histories. Physically, each instrument has its own ‘touch’, its own physical properties and ways of playing, and I wondered how these might influence musical affect. Also, I wanted to explore how a group of classically trained musicians came to learn and adopt these instruments into their own musical personas. This resonated somewhat with my own experience, having spent most of my time and energy as a music student trying to avoid the conventions of classical musical training and learning shakuhachi and other things instead.
I wondered how discussing and recording these encounters might affect the music. I wanted to allow the music to be an emergent property of the activity, rather than laying out too much ahead of time. Having said that, we found it useful to have a few rules – starting from a very slow pulse; tuning the koto in a particular way; favouring certain stylistic and technical features over others. Recording was very important. I recorded our one to one discussions, where we explored sounds and playing techniques, but then quickly got onto discussing how we came to do what we do in the first place. These recordings, though part of the development process, are presented here in a little mix called ‘encounters’.
The piece does have a text score, which was drafted after the fact. It could probably be adapted to work with other groups of individuals and other instruments, but a key feature of the piece is the sustained textural evolution facilitated by the granular and spectral sampling processes used in the MaxMSP patches.

There are two recordings here - a studio recording, and a live recording from Sonic Art Oxford in 2010. Many thanks to Paul Whitty.

Studio recording:


Live at Sonic Art Oxford 2010:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.