March 26, 2018

An enduring silence in which hope, like Schrödinger’s cat, may be both alive and dead at the same time. 

6.00 am: Awake. A restless night. The second in a row. I’d hoped that yesterday afternoon’s run might have tired my body. My thoughts would not resolve, however. 7.45 am: A communion.

8.30 am: Ideally, one ought to do a few things exceptionally well; one ought to be known for doing something in particular. (Generalists have a hard time promoting themselves and being remembered.) In order to establish a focus for one’s identity and territory, self-knowledge of a high-order is required, along with a consummate ability to jettison much of what you can do (exceedingly well, in some cases), so that what you need to do can flourish. (It’s the principle of pruning.) As I’ve ‘matured’ as an artist, and looked back at my career, one observations that’s struck me is how few things I’ve been interested in … I mean, really interested in. These preoccupations have resurfaced again and again in different contexts (images, texts, and sounds). They constitute a core of concerns. During the next months, I want to give greater definition to them and, thereby, to myself. (What and who am I? And, as importantly, what and who am I not?)

Over the weekend, two ideas presented themselves. The first, concerned my approach to the 40 minute+ overlay of the Scourby Bible. It should be played and re-recorded in chapel interiors of different sizes. Their contrasting ambiences can them be drawn upon to inform the final composition. Allied to this, is the possibility that the composition could be presented as an acoustmatic installation in a chapel (thus building on my experience at Bethel Welsh Baptist Church, last November.) The second, concerned the verse from Habakuk that I’d been reflecting upon: Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it (Habakuk 2.2). I want to create a sound piece based upon the text, to accompany a keynote lecture that I’ve been asked to deliver at a conference on the Bible and art in October. I’ll have a captive audience.

9.40 am: I walked to the Hugh Owen Library to attend a 10.00 am meeting at the designated venue. But no one else was there. Had either the date, time, and venue been changed or the whole thing cancelled? Well, it had been a pleasant enough walk, to and fro:

10.20 pm: Back at homebase and in the studio, I reviewed ‘Double Blind’. Progress was stalled by a recurrence of the drag n’ drop facility in relation to Audition CS6. I don’t know what was the cause but, having looked at several forums, the solution was to ‘force quit’ the ‘Finder’ window and then restart the computer. In between bouts of hair pulling, I set up the deck in readiness for another bash at manipulating the sources for ‘Double Blind’. (One disc at a time, on this occasion.):

Q: What’re The Talking Bible‘s intrinsic disciplines and objectives? A: The exploration, interpretation, and adaptation of the:

  • sonorities of the medium and the recording;
  • conditions under which the recording was made: time, place, and technology;
  • identity of the narrator;
  • particularities of the specific ‘imprint’: its container, additional contents, provenance, and condition;
  • strictures and intent of the recording’s commission, and the set’s relation to the other ‘talking books’ in the series;
  • reception and use of the recording;
  • technology of my manipulation, production, and exposition of the content.

1.30 pm: over lunch, I reassigned the Digitech FreqOut effector to a different position on pedalboard IV – post-compression and pre-distortion  – so that the faux-feedback tone would be modulated along with the dry signal.

Over Easter, I’m going to begin an analysis of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, that will concentrate upon identifying representations and functions of sound in the text. Reading for hearing, as it were:

The information will be deposited into an old-fashioned analogue, card-based ‘database’. I’m curious to discover whether this pre-digital mode of indexing will condition me to think about the relationships between facts, concepts, and their organisation in a different way; (one which will be familiar to be from my past).

By the close of the afternoon, I’d made significant progress in distributing samples from the ‘Double Blind’ sources along the spinal beat of the composition.

7.15 pm: I attended the School’s ‘A Place for Art: The Davies Gift’ exhibition opening as guest both of the School and the county’s High Sheriff, Sue Balsom. Both she and Professor Meyrick addressed the gathering:

On leaving, my mind inclined to thoughts about endings: an era drawing to a close, transitions, abrupt terminations, distancing, adjustments, alternatives, and new beginnings.


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