Spaces and Places: Weekly Task 2.5:

It’s possibly time to own up to the fact that Weekly Task 2 with the kitchen environment was actually intended to be composed for an outside space! To rectify this, Task 2.5 is another composition, which is most definitely composed for an outside space, as I have chosen the water of Hull’s Prince’ Quay for the centre of Task 2.5.This crudely manipulated picture of Princes’ Quay, Hull shows where the microphones would be placed in blue, the speakers in red, and the sound tiles in a yellow construction surrounding the audience. (Credit, Imagery: Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, The Geoinformation Group; Map data: Google).

The music would be entirely improvised based on the sounds being played from the hydrophones in the water. The band would be instructed to focus on the overall sound, any patterns or rhythms, and to treat the water as a fifth band member to collaborate with. The piece would be given the time signature of 2/8, so that there is a clear pulse, but the band are encouraged to stray from metric patterns as much as possible. I took this approach from the Punkt Sessions back in February, as it was such a great way to encourage less talk about theory and pre-determined patterns between players, as there is minimal counting.

Musicians would be told their aim is to collaborate or imitate the sound from the speakers, so as to become part of a single piece of music with the space itself. The audience would be inside a box made of acoustic boards, with speakers playing the hydrophone outputs inside with them. The performers would play outside the box, and hopefully slightly muffled by the insulation. The music would likely take the shape of something ambient, as hydrophones have a distinctive sound, and the piece will be durational, playing during 45 minute time-slots over a few days.

On a rainy day, the musicians would ideally play inside the shopping centre, and the rain would add activity to the hydrophones. It would also be more practical as the instruments would be less at risk, and the box can then also serve as a space to escape the rain, and also contemplate as the sound of a unique environment is being heard with some one-off live improvisation.

The performance would be difficult to stage due to the microphone placements (especially sending a boat out to capture the centre of the water,) and getting permissions might be difficult, but it would be amazing to try it one day.

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