I am having some big problems with my ISP and cannot upload the composition I have finished today and wanted to share here. But I do have this exciting glitterphones photo which is one of the images created in the process of designing the web-stuff for the Sonic Advent Calendar, and I can tell you that the composition is a lot of fun being based around fireworks, popping mouth candy, bonfires, popcorn, champagne and fizzy drinks, rockets and roman candles. You shall have it as an mp3 the second I can get the Internet to be my friend again.
I haven’t consciously put together what I would call a ‘composition’ before in my life, although I certainly have written a lot of music and done a lot of stuff that involves organising sound. I generally am more comfortable framing these activities in my mind as being ‘making sound art’ rather than ‘composing’ because I am very old fashioned in my ideas about composition. I used to sit at the piano in a very proper way writing Very Deep Songs (a la Tori Amos) on manuscript paper until I got frustrated with trying to translate the rhythm onto the stave, and I still on some level feel that any other kind of activity is automatically not ‘proper’ composing. This is very silly and is philosophically similar to someone going to Fine Art college and finding that all the contemporary ‘nonsense’ taking place therein is simply not ‘real Art’ because it is not watercolours, nudes or landscapes.
So I am getting an education in the world of contemporary composition because if I am to pursue the idea of presenting everyday sounds to audiences then I have to deal with the context of the concert, the recital and the performance. These situations are important to make work in and consider because the majority of people go to these places to hear things, rather than to galleries.
So I found it interesting to philosophically frame my composition as such and to write my ‘composer’s biography’ and submit my composition to the organisers of a conference. It is a very small composition; just 3 minutes and 34 seconds long. But I enjoyed immensely all the listening to and recording and arrangeing of the sounds that resulted in it coming together, and the whole philosophical exercise involved in considering this kind of activity to be ‘composing.’
This is what I wrote about it on the submission form:
Taste Sensation explores the idea of similitude and context in sound. Built entirely from unprocessed recordings of a family firework display, a morningâ€™s walk beside a river and a range of different culinary activities, the piece has been created through the repetition and layering of sounds which â€“ while having disparate sources – share similar aural qualities.
Juxtaposing recordings of firework explosions and family days out with sounds from the world of food and drink, Taste Sensation aims to be a very physical piece drawing on the suggestive potential of sound and offering an imaginative, bodily listening experience. The sounds are loosely organised according to the sequence of sounds one may experience at a firework display.
The origins of the sounds employed in developing Taste Sensation have deliberately been preserved in the piece because the imaginative associations conjured by the listenerâ€™s knowledge of the sounds are as important in shaping their experience of the piece as the formal qualities of the sounds themselves.
This is a piece for your ears and mouth.
We shall see in January how the organisers of the conference like it, and in the meantime I shall endeavour to put it here for your discerning ears.