This work “Radar Point” is another thats been inspired by the Thames Estuary, in particular the old WWII radar tower just outside Coalhouse Fort. I’ve worked in this area before, publishing a series of photographs on a blog and a piece of music titled “15-2011”. You can find the blog here.
I had written this piece with a music festival in mind, answering a call for audio works which asked for interaction with the given title “Close to the sound-Behind the melody-near the inaudible”
The area around Coalhouse Point has some interesting sounds; theres a bouy out in the river which has an old-fashioned bell, which rings plaintively when the wind is sufficiantly strong, theres a touching shine to a lost child on a park bench which overlooks the site, which has various sound-making items that gently tinkle. I started by making field recordings of the area; the wind; the bouy, the tinkling from the bench. I also got close to the metal structure the holds the upper room up and recorded the wind making sounds though the beams.
But field recordings are not enough for me. I always want to add musical notes; so I wrote some patches in a couple of synthesizers that made sympathic sounds to what I had already, which I then enhanced further by the addition of the musical content and electronic manioulation of the field recordings. In addition to the synthesizers I also added a prepared piano to the mix, guitar and to aid the ‘tinkling’ I sampled a very cheap glockenspiel; one which generates long, loud overtone harmonics- generally making it sound rather nasty- but when sampled and the attack lengthened to remove the initial “clang” the pure harmonics that follow make a lovely sound, which I can also tune and fitted perfectly.
Ultimately I intend this as a meeting point between ‘sound art’ and music. The musical content is melodic, based on variations of a theme- but the original theme is not revealed- instead there are three symmetrical chords just to hint at it- and it its only the very barest hint.
This music is very dynamic- both very quiet and quite loud in places.
Radar Point receives its 88.2 KHz, 24-bit premire at Hilltown Festival– Ireland on Fri 15th July 2011
There is now a film used at the Wolfson College concert here: