September loometh. And as the prospect of another Creative Pact approaches, I’ve found myself looking back over the work I’ve done over the past year and noticing a decided lack of conventionally notated music. I’ve done quite a few text scores: Cake Piece, NO DOGS, ‘Drawing Out’ added to Crossing Dartmoor, a new visual art installation (Sounds We’ll Never Hear), filmed a bunch of video content for Crossing Dartmoor, worked on a bunch of electroacoustic pieces for 1200RPM:RPM2015 as well as for my Sound Art classes and done some field recording, but I haven’t done any music for acoustic instruments since I completed Adjacent/Harmonious for The Angel Orchestra in November last year.
The experience of producing Crossing Dartmoor at Tête à Tête though and finally integrating video into the piece as I’ve wanted to almost since I started working on it in 2013, has reminded me that I do actually like writing for instruments. It’s been great to focus purely on the other stuff for a while, but I think the time has come to start working on pulling all these bits together and determining how I want the various aspects of my creative work to interact. Because what I do know is that I’m more interested in developing a way of combining a bunch of media in my work rather than always keeping clear defining lines. I want to work on music that may involve notation, video and theatre, rather than do a ‘straight’ notated piece and then one that’s wholly electroacoustic. I don’t want to feel so aware of the boundaries between media, but just to do what feels right for the content and see where that takes me.
I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to end up with this. I suspect there’ll be a lot of listening/viewing/reading/thinking going on, and I definitely want to actually write some music using dots on lines in the traditional manner. But I don’t have any clear picture yet of what I might want to work on. I’ve been thinking that I might perhaps do something with the work of Ellen Gallagher which I first saw at the Tate a couple of years ago and while much of it gives me the creeps, I find her textures amazing and I’ve wanted to do something with that ever since, so that might be something to hang the project on. I’m not even sure what instrument(s) I might want to write for – piano? or I have friends who are a violin & cello duo who would probably be keen to be involved. Or something for voice? Probably instruments though, I think. I kind of want to move away from text as a defining element for this. I may incorporate it somehow, but I want to focus on sound and the notation of sound and just be a bit more abstract about everything.
So that’s the plan. Not that it’s much of a plan. But the commitment is there: spend a month tinkering with mashing up conventional notation, artmaking, electronic media, video and whatever else seems appropriate, and exploring what others have done in this area too, and see what happens.