July 27, 2020

Sunday, July 26.

Monday, July 27. WFM: DAY 102. 9.00 am: The week ahead had to be fluid. Tutorials and other appointments would emerge where they would. In the meantime, I attended to the certainties: postgraduate admissions, submissions, and examinations; and undergraduate re-submissions. Discussions in these respects take place within the contexts of modes of organisation and delivery that remains conjectural, ‘visionary’, flexible, and not a little unnerving. ‘More tea, please!’

11.30 am: I listened to last week’s sonic endeavours, returning to ‘Sweet Bell Ringing’ to begin. The interrogation: Is it sufficient? If not, what’s either missing or in excess? My instinct is to make a work as short as possible and as long as necessary. And, certainly, as long as any duration that’s suggested in the source text. I extracted a sample from the whole and pushed it to breaking point.

Part of my mind was edging towards the next sound project. When I was studying for my PhD Art History (thousands of years ago), I visited the South Wales Miner’s Library (which is part of Swansea University). At the time, the collection held a set of cassette-tape recorded interviews with miners. They weren’t of any immediate use to my research at the time, but I always felt that I’d engage with them again in the future. I do hope the Library hasn’t digitized and thrown away the source media. The sound of tape is integral to the period of the recording. I made a tentative inquiry.

1.45 pm: Having extracted a sample under two-minutes in length from the ten-minute sample, I moved on to ‘The Singing Angels’ composition. I removed what was good in itself but unfit to the whole. I returned to the ‘Sweet Bell Ringing’ and, within half-an-hour, created a plausible alternative version based upon a micro-fragment of the former composition. Such ‘gifts’ make me smile.

3.00 pm: On, then, to ‘So Great a Noise that The Man of The House … Thought The House Was Going Away’. The next step was to ally the sound like a person praying with the background drone that I’d made some days ago. This was the ‘jelly’ into which my ‘sponge finger’ would be subsumed.

4.30 pm: Signs of the times:

Occasionally, I bump into colleagues and former students while on my walks. It’s like meeting ghosts: they’re no longer as physical (remote); only images on my retina; people like those whom you meet in a dream. ‘It’s all completely screwed-up’, said one of my tutees. That appraisal confronts me forcibly at times.

7.30 pm: Enough had been achieved in the studio today. I began looking at accounts of spirit manifestations in Wales that while not derived from the Edmund Jones collections floated, as it were, ‘in the air’ around the same time.

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