8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am:
A few adjustments to next week’s commitments before scanning the landscape of today’s. First up, I uploaded the composition, that’ll be discussed during my forthcoming presentation, to Soundcloud. I was still exploring ways of sharing live-streaming sound that didn’t compromise the quality of listening. In the background, the archive of my sound work, going back to 2009 largely, was being shunted to memory sticks in order to be transferred to the mixing desk’s computer. This had been a haul. But an end was in sight. 9.30 am: I returned to the suite and re-listened to the week’s tinkerings, beginning with ‘Fiery Stones’ — which is very much a landscape of sound. Afterwards, I revisited several other compositions. The audition — after two weeks of not having engaged them — was encouraging. Although, I continue to be aghast at how long composition takes me. I suspect that it might take just as long had I an uninterrupted week to dedicate to the task. I’m slow.
11.40 pm: Off to the hairdressers to have my mop mowed.
On my return home, the sunlight breaking through the trees bid me pause. In that moment, the heart was filled with a hope and an expectation that had no precise object. A weight was lifted, albeit temporarily. But for long enough to know, with certainty, what it would be like to be light again.
1.45 pm: ‘John ap John’ was on the table. I’d already made various components that could contribute to the whole. I would imagine that a good third of the project time is expended upon samples that are never included in the final mix. They’re ‘painted-out’ or painted-over’. Nothing, however, is wasted. The experience of crafting them and, most importantly, the thought process that leads to their exclusion, is invaluable. The critical faculties are sharpened and the criteria of appropriateness made more evident, thereby. I recorded the text to Jones’s account. New components were extracted and placed on the anvil.
This is a composition about a narrative that’s set in an extensive landscape — a plateaux surrounded by low mountains at the head of the Ebbw Fach valley. An evocation of that space, as well as of the movement of a supernatural cry through it, would be the essence of the first section. The opening takes place at night. No sound, which might otherwise help to define a space, is mentioned. In situ, it’s the wind — passing through the trees and bushes and over the long grass — that contributes to the perception of distances and proximities in that landscape. It’s a phenomenon that’s best appreciated with the eyes closed.
I constructed a wind sample and extracted sounds from a slowed-down version of my afternoon’s reading that summoned distant cries. The latter were processed in the evening.