Sid Smith String Quartet VII

Artwork copy

The writer Sid Smith had photographed a huge number of images of rain hitting his “yellow room” window. He arranged these into movements of 4 related images then invited composers to write for them, opening up to any instrumentation. I chose number VII because I liked the abstract, cold look- I like cold! Its blue grey colour and tiny, intense detail also captured my eye, reminding me of granite. You can see the orginal images here. I could have done four very busy movements but to be honest, that was too much an obvious route, so I thought of all those raindrops as grains of sound, and bearing in mind Im a big fan of granular sampling approaches, took my ideas from that point, then drew heavily on the cold colours. To this end I used both granular sampling and granular melodic ideas; short phrases self contained phrases making up larger ones, which I used as the basis for Movement III.

As Sid had allowed the instrumentation to be opened up, I did confine each of the movements to four lines, preserving the concept of it being a quartet.

I didn’t want to do 4 movements using the same instrumentation- so I have two with individual line ups, and two electric guitar quartets. This meant I could play all the instruments and lay these down direct in my studio.

The results can be heard below!

Movement I

The three granular Synths are play granular samples of a woodwind multiphonic (bass clarinet) while the piano is effected with a granular delay (very 1960s style effect)

Movement II

In this track all the instruments are effected with differing/alternating granular delay patterns

Movement III

Four electric guitars as a quartet

Movement IV

Electric guitar quartet , thee guitars clean, one guitar distorted and as soloist

The full EP is downloadable here

About stuartrussellcomposer

Composer/ sound artist. Electronic musician. Modern classical composer
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