Since receiving the Feeney Fellowship late last year, I have made contact with some very exciting and experienced sound artists who work with field recordings. I’d describe my compositional practice as being primarily concerned with instrumental music, but I do dabble with music production and samples. I wish to learn more about this realm to support for-Wards project, which invites communities to capture field recordings in their neighbourhoods.
I used field recordings with communities for the first time in a THSH music education project called Pipe Up in 2008 based around the organ in Coventry cathedral. We used freeware and captured found sounds from the organ as a soundtrack for animations young people created.
Working with field recordings is a growing interest, and it is a real honour to have this opportunity to learn from such inspirational figures. At the beginning of January 2016, I met up with sound artist Duncan Chapman. We spent a rather relaxed morning exploring and recording sounds round Northfield district, starting out in Longbridge, and then used the afternoon to talk and listen to the various ways found sounds have been used by composers.
It was great to learn and see how Duncan engaged with the environment. We both admitted how as field recordists there is an inner conflict about how you capture certain sounds, for example, the sound of tiles being removed from a semi-detached house in Longbridge coupled with bird song sounded ace, but we both admitted to wanting the sound of the man doing the tiling work’s radio to stop playing. We spoke about the awareness of our very human tendency, to want to control our sonic environment and filter out sounds we didn’t find interesting
I have been asked to compose string arrangements for Lizzie Emeh’s new LP. I thought I’d find this quite easy as my compositions tend to be quite melodic, oh how naive of me!
So as the stress levels have increased (writer’s block) – I decided to take a day off working on the tracks, start a 6000 word research essay due in 3 weeks (!!), and listened to great string arrangers. Whilst figuring out how to create arrangements for Lizzie’s tracks, I have enjoyed working on the texture/warmth/subtleties. What I have found challenging is being bold at the right moment. Thanks to Mark at Heart and Soul for being patient with me and giving me this opportunity. Time to step up now!
The piece is called ‘Adrift’ and the words are written by Warwick Uni student/poet Miss Ella.
Here’s a wee snippet, I am still buzzing from how beautifully the Coull Quartet and Sophie Pullen performed in today’s rehearsal!
At the start of the year, I was fortunate to have an orchestral piece called “Chef Concertino” performed at Birmingham Conservatoire. The composition department has an annual competition where composition students can submit works to be performed; the best 6 are chosen.
My performance incorporated two passions: food and music. It featured my chef uncle and Graeme Rose from Stan’s Cafe. It was a good first attempt and a lot of work went into it. I would make more tweaks if I had time, such as more interaction between orchestra and chef, but there’s only so many hours in the day.
What beautiful weather! A year ago, I met a Swedish lady in London (on the bus I think), who said the main reason she decided to stay in the UK was down to the summer of ’76. She told me she had been longing ever since for another glorious summer like that to return. Maybe her wait is over….
Anyway, I feel it is time to update you with the world of Bobalon.
We are getting there… thank goodness for that, as I’m having the trippiest dreams as the pressure is on.
Young people have written two original sets of lyrics for songs using the riddims of Steel Pulse and Burning Spear, I have an a capella idea for the final ditty, we have one session left to devise/rehearse, using “Hail Him”. We shall see what the young people think of my idea.
Where are days 5-8? Coming, sorry, I had some teething problems and was away. Needed more time off-line.
Today’s word: ‘Stranger’.
Was a bit stuck, so perimeters quickly set; the orchestration was strictly for wind instruments. Mulled over what ‘stranger’ meant: think mysterious, unknown, my person is a bit quirky, smokes fags in alley ways.
This is what I did:
i can only use these notes. 30 mins. inspired by the question ‘what does pink feel like?’ pink is raw, pink is apparently girly, pink is sakura. pink shaded the colour of the sky when i climbed mt. fuji whilst severely hungover with ‘h’, (celebrating my move to tokys), i looked a right state after. d’oh. think mt. fuji is winning, yup, let’s go with the clouds. timer.
here she is:
hmmm, this sketch is my least fave, i like minor, moody shades, restricted by my note row. pah! then, again with a reframe, i am getting david lynch vibes. mulholland dr., what a creepy, amazing film. i’ll try harder next time.