8.30 am: Admin catchup. 9.00 am: Studiology. On with ‘blind Bartimaeus’. Throughout the morning I was engaged in a painstaking edit to integrate the two gospel texts describing his encounter with Jesus. I’m conscious of having to write up my processes as I go; they’re too easy to forget. For once the composition is complete, the road is obscured; and it can’t be easily unearthed. Sample mixdowns were stretched and dramatically slowed in order to hear their subcutaneous frequencies and patterns:
Following lunch, I moved on to a percussive piece. The introduction is based upon the clicks of at the tail end of the recording on both sides of the Revelation of St John the Divine disc, from the Scourby collection. The overlaid slow-beat pattern at the beginning evokes something akin to a false memory of the drumming that accompanies Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary (c. 1695). Often, one’s enthusiasms slip into the mix:
Mid afternoon, I looked/heard over my recordings of click and scratch sample overlays that have yet to find a composition. They’re my beat tracks, as it were. Around them, a voice and other artefacts will be woven.
My ‘dead kitten’ arrived today:
This, I hope, will be the antidote to the ‘pips’ and ‘pops’ that can dog field recording in the breeze and wind. As I recall, there was always a movement in the air on the plateaux of the Arael Mountain, Abertillery. It would ‘play’ the cables that stretched between telegraph poles, which were drawn, like a musical stave in the air, from one side of the mountain to the other. The cables would ‘hum’ mournfully. The sound summoned the presence of something unworldly, and not entirely beneficent. The phenomenon wasn’t out of keeping with the mythos of that place. In the eighteenth century, travellers across that area reported encounters with ‘fairies’ – malevolent creatures that would translate their prey from there to a remote location, in seconds.
In the evening, I reviewed the work that I’d completed during the day. There’s a movement in the proceedings – a sense of direction emerging. What’s still lacking, is a constraining theme. But I’m confident that it’ll find me. I need only to be present and receptive.