Project Description

Composed between May and November 2019

The real-world sounds were recorded during a trip to Ramsey island in May 2019.

The seagull sounds are initially real, and clearly identify as belonging within a natural environment. They invoke in the listener feelings of familiarity, reminiscence and nostalgia, placing them into a recognisable place.

Mixing the sounds from the real and imaginary seabirds together, creates a progressively uncomfortable sense of confusion. Introducing recordings of the sea further establishes the sense of the scene belonging within a natural landscape, anchoring the listener to that memory, thus heightening the ambiguity of the imaginary sounds, and the sense of belonging of the real-world sounds.

As the piece progresses, the recognisable sounds are interrupted by the introduction, and pervasiveness of long, low sustained drone tones and rumblings; the sense of place alternating from earthly to otherworldly. The randomly occurring sound of pebbles, dislodged by the action of the sea, maintains the sense of naturalness whilst creating sonic embellishments, this also provides the listener with information as to the geological and physical nature of location.

The piece reaches a point at which the electronic sounds become more dominant, before slowly dissolving to reveal the natural sound material.

Although a reflection of real-life, I believe that music composed from disembodied and decontextualised field-recorded sound is not itself necessarily concerned with realism, functioning as it does as an imaginative experience for the listener, occasioning a journey, removing preconceptions, and instilling a sense of change whilst offering a renewed appreciation of reality. We reference sound to familiar objects or past experiences, using these memories to invoke recognition, often supplanting the sonic information with visual data; mental images or pictures. Compositional processing techniques enable the composer to obscure the identity of field-recorded sounds, thus denying the listener access to necessary referential clues.