This is a new piece that I started working on a few weeks ago. It’s all sound from Ramsey Island RSPB reserve, situated off the coast of Pembrokeshire. The piece is still very much a work-in-progress.
The process for this is a little different to my other portfolio pieces. I’ve started to use an iPad, and various iOS apps; particularly Samplir. My background is a musician; a bass player. Composition is something I only really started in the second year of my BMus, in 2013. Electroacoustic or sound-based composition is something I only really started doing last year, when working on my MA portfolio. So it’s still very, very new.
Two of the main functional elements of electroacoustic, or sound-based composition are gesture and texture. Gestures add motion or imply movement within the composition. Electroacoustic music sound-shapes and sound textural qualities are often quite removed from their sources and causes, and without the familiar articulations of instruments.
I find that apps on the iPad respond well to finger and hand movement; a little like playing the sounds as you would a real instrument, helping to create gestures. So I’m actually recording the piece in real-time. I have the existing tracks playing, and I have the iPad plugged in via an interface. I have the sound loaded into whatever app I’m using, and just play along, improvising. I can just edit as I want afterwards, adding fades and removing bits I don’t like.