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.