2016 Christmas single: “Orbit”

orbit-art-2

When I was considering a new composition for 2016’s single I thought back to some music that I composed for an installation which was exhibited as “Orbits” within the Adelaide City Council’s concourse. This was a long-form piece consisting of layered chords from a vintage reed organ that I’d owned since 1999.

Two chords sequences of different lengths were played back simltaneously to create a phase relation and went through an additional process of subtle frequency and amplitude modulation via a EHX Memory Man and POG2 harmonic octave generator. The final piece was over seven hours long in duration and was broadcasted in the installation space on a continuous loop.

The intended reception of the installation was for the passerby to encounter a brief moment of development in the work (characterised by a texture and/or harmony) – a small moment’s encounter in a complex series of cycles.

* * *

When I think back to the period that I was composing the work it was at the beginning of 2016. Already the year had begun uneasily, yet as personal, national and worldwide events unfolded in the coming months I now arrived at the end of a year which been characterised by momentous changes; for myself and the world as a whole – a reality of Brexit, Trump, post-truth, fascism, the ruins of Aleppo, decimated ecosystems, the felt effects of climate change and countless other atrocities. I – like many others – currently feel exhausted, ragged and worn down by our teneous existence in the early 21st Century. Yet, some of us still love and care about the things that matter. If there was ever a time to be hopeful, optimistic and to passionately fight for things like facts, inclusion, tolerance, empathy, our planet: it’s natural systems and species – there’s certainly no time like the present.

* * *
It seemed only fitting to take a section of a work composed at the beginning of the year and reimagine it through an additional set of sound manipulation processes – presenting a poetic rematerialisation of “Orbits” as a single ‘orbit’ – a snapshot of a drift, disrupted and transmuted by 2016’s uneasy passages.

Here’s to the future – let’s wish for 2017’s journey to be a little steadier.

Goyder’s Line v.3 in the works

I’m currently in the process of revising the Goyder’s Line Max/MSP patch with the intention of streamlining the drawing process and adding some additional features to the interface.

In addition to this, the work will be expanded with the incorporation of a video component for a potential exhibition/performance of the work in the future. A summary and audio of of v.2 (2015) can be found below.

14724655_10153831697521712_6947565769209885543_n
A snippet of the revised Max/MSP patch

Goyder’s Line Version 2 release notes (accompanying the Maurilia Sound Studio Volume 4 edition):

“Goyder’s Line” – recorded in April 2015 – is a composition for Max/MSP, vocoder and effects modules. For its structure and form, the work references the geographical boundary (or isopleth) pioneered by George Goyder in the mid-1880’s to denote and determine patterns of rainfall in South Australia. The work’s sonic character (derived from sawtooth waves and the feedback of a Moog MF-108M module) results in a continuous drone; consisting of rich, wavering harmonic tones and textures which are intended to be evocative of the colours, climate, topography and relative stillness of the landscapes that Goyder’s Line passes through.

The past is a foreign country

Field Street, Normanville. At no.3 is the cottage that I spent most of my childhood and teenage years. On the corner of the street was a property which sat adjacent to no.3 – a small, relatively unassuming early 20th Century cottage with a couple of large spaces which used to have horses kept in them. This afternoon my mum sent me an image revealing that this property had recently been demolished. I was slightly stunned – it feels as though a significant personal landmark has been erased. Whilst the little cottage and its surrounds are nothing particularly striking, the more subtle elements of the property – its creamy pink colour, the rusty corregated fences and the peculiar white cross painted on the outside of a backyard shed – are images that have resonated with me since early childhood. I also have a particularly strong childhood  memory of routinely running my hand along a rusty, yet smooth thick wire which ran through its fence on Field Street. A lot of what I have associated with Normanville in recent years (aside from the cottage at no.3 and the town’s main street) strongly gravitates to this now demolished and razed property.

This significance is further illustrated by the fact that the two Garden Ruin albums – their material drawing heavily from memories and observations in and around Normanville – both feature this property on their album covers.

As you get older, living with the past becomes all the more beguiling.