April 21, 2018

It’s as though we’d had a very long telephone conversation that was now finished. (But, at the same time, not necessarily concluded or resolved.) However, the person on the other end hadn’t put down their phone; rather, they’d only stopped talking. We remained connected. I was aware that they still listened, and so continued to speak. 

8.00 am: A communion. 8.45 am: The blossoms were in the bud; I await their full flourish with anticipation:

9.00 am: I knew yesterday evening what part of the source mixdown would serve as ‘Enn’, the last piece in the quartet of compositions. The extracted material represents the final twenty minutes leading up to the point when the shortest read text closes. I’d decided that the length of the whole from which I’d derived the four compositions would be determined, or delimited, by its smallest component, so that the four voices would remain in unison throughout. Only on examining the part could I hear the deficiencies in the whole. I returned to adjust the master mix in order to compensate.

There’re moments when the female and the male voices are ‘singing’ together. (‘Wouldn’t that have been a thing?’) Slowing down speech to this degree liberates and accentuates its innate musicality. Towards the conclusion of ‘Enn’, one of the female voices ‘sings’ three ascending notes. It has an epiphanic quality – as though the she’d found, almost at the last, a moment of release and abiding fulfilment. The sound was like a momentary shaft of intense light upon an otherwise dark and unreassuring landscape. I was, to quote C. S. Lewis, ‘surprised by joy’. Quite overwhelmed:

I never weary of being astonished by how a simple conceptual underpinning coupled with a chance procedure, using otherwise unremarkable material (in respect to the sound qualities rather than the content), can produce such an extraordinary outcome. This would not have sounded better had I composed it with the greatest deliberation. It has all the hallmarks of statement, development, and resolution. Or, perhaps, this is how our minds organise it, after the fact.

11.00 am: I turned to the first piece: ‘Jayess’. Ideally, I was hoping to ‘find’ this at the beginning of the three-hour source mixdown. One can but try. Throughout, there’s a slow undulation, like the waves of the sea surging and withdrawing, as each spoken word arises, climaxes, and diminishes:

The composition began, 5 minutes into the source mixdown, with a quiet section, not unlike the closing section of ‘Enn’.

2.00 pm: After lunch, I headed into town, under the sun, to acquit myself of some domestics. I took in the Promenade from the Old College towards the harbour. The high tide (an hour earlier) was receding, but still able to catch unwary walkers at the water’s edge. I’d not crossed this beach since the 13 and 19 November last year, when I recorded the incoming tide and my footfall, in part in preparation (although unbeknown to me, then) for what became ‘Sea Interlude (Still Waters)‘, from the I. Nothing. Lack. suite:


The compositions have sonorities reminiscent of my recent preparations for the New Songs suite for electric guitar and effectors (See: ‘test strip’ (March 16, 2018)). In its use of a governing text (albeit spoken rather than written), expansive soundscape, and slow rate of progression, this new suite paves the way for the earlier one. A paradox, of sorts. By the close of the afternoon, ‘Io’ was complete. Only one more to be done.

5.20 pm: A sufficiency.