GoldGlow

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I made this piece in just under a month, in the studios of the Groupe de Musique Expérimentale de Bourges in (unsurprisingly) Bourges, central France. It was December I think, and the town was cold, misty, mysterious, and seemingly weirdly deserted. I spent nearly all my time in the studio, with just the odd break to wander the empty streets. It put me in a strange, not altogether unpleasant, introspective state of mind, which I think is really what the piece is all about. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

GoldGlow concerns the contrast between the outer world perceived by the senses and the inner world of the imagination and emotions. It concerns a particular winter numbness, when the ego seems to retreat into itself, and the mind to take on an internal life of its own, sometimes with little connection to external reality.

Two layers of sound make up the the fabric of the music. On the surface is an outer layer of virtually untreated environmental sounds, all recorded one December afternoon in Bourges and presented in almost the order in which they were recorded. These sounds are thus very specifically linked to a particular place and time. Beneath is a glowing core of abstract sounds and instrumental sounds, deliberately chosen to have as little direct resonance of a particular time or place as possible.

The relationship between the two layers is very fluid. Often they are completely independent, each following its own musical flow. Sometimes an event in one will trigger a change in the other, sometimes one might temporarily take on some characteristic of the other, sometimes they will be linked by a common articulative shaping. But there is always a barrier between them, and they are never allowed to come together to form a completely homogeneous texture.

Additional Notes

• Commissioned by the Groupe de Musique Expérimentale de Bourges (France) , and was realised in their studio Charibde.
• Created using a Macintosh Pro-Tools based system, and extensive use of several effects processing units such as an Eventide H3500. In addiotin, some Sheppard tones were generated at EMS on an Ircam Signal Processing Workstation.
• Premiered at the Palais Jaques Coeur, Bourges.
• Performed at the ICMC in Hong-Kong.
• Received an honourable mention at the Prix Ars Electronica.
• Broadcast as part of the NOW festival.
• Released on a Sargasso CD.

in Sound