November 27, 2017


It hailed, like dried peas poured onto a metal baking tray. 9.30 am: My hairdresser told me about a paranormal experience they’d had in a local hotel room recently. It betrayed a number of classic features associated with ghostly encounters: intense cold spots, interference with electrical equipment, and the sudden and violent movement of objects. Apparently, a university students had died in the room back in the 1920s. I don’t doubt the witness’s experience. But how does one begin to interpret these phenomena?

Throughout the day, I unpacked and stored the equipment that I’d used at yesterday’s I. Nothing. Lack. event, and generally tidied up and reorganised the studio in readiness for the next phase of work, that would begin Monday afternoon. ‘I’m getting there’, I said, to reassure myself. Quite how all the composed material fits together as a coherent album has not disclosed itself yet. It will. It always does. But I must pay attention to what the compositions are telling me in the meantime:

Ed Pinset sent me a link to his review, on The Sound Projector radio and internet magazine, of The Bible in Translation album. It’s always encouraging to receive an intelligent and genuinely supportive response to something one has done. I’m under no illusion: the work that I produce in either the sonic or the visual field has a very limited audience. I’ve no interest in making it more palatable. But I do exert a considerable effort to explain to the public the difficulties involved in encountering the work. That’s not a concession; that’s a responsibility. Bowie once said, something to the effect, that if he’d been totally uncompromising about his music, then he’d have had no audience at all.

Today. A morning of admin – culling responsibilities that still hung in the air following last week’s busyness, and preparing for the week ahead. By 12.30 pm, my attention had moved from the School’s to my own research admin. My CV and websites needed updating. I made a start:

2.30 pm: Studiology. Then I began to sift the acoustic recordings that were made on Friday at Bethel, beginning with the loud and chaotic samples based on white noise predominantly:


Very little had to be done in terms of equalisation and stereo enhancement. I’m pursuing a policy of minimal intervention in this respect. Those samples that captured MacMillan’s voice only, summoned a very authentic sense of him being, once again, preaching in the building. After all, originally, his voice would have sounded out through a PA system, although not a 1000-watt version, like I was using. 5.00 pm: Evening fell:

7.30 pm: I put together a handout for the Cardiff trip. I’ve not had a pretext for taking the students there since the days of the now defunct Chapels in Wales module. 8.30 pm: Back at the mixing desk, with a view to exploring how the more chaotic samples (nicknamed ‘Horror 1-4’) might be integrated with the overlaid sermons sample (which conspicuously fails in its present condition). The sounds of the final Monday evening fair drifted on the wind towards me as I did so.  My sonic invention and the real world strangely mimicked one another. By the close of the session, a solution had tentatively begun to suggest itself.


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