March 28, 2016 - workbook
This is one of two collaborative versions of #[unassigned] I made with Monty Adkins, combining his work as an electronic composer with my acoustic material. We made this version for Huddersfield’s annual Electric Spring festival for cellist Anton Lukoszevieze and tuba player Melvyn Poore. The piece uses processed cello and tuba sounds which Monty worked into a series of short tracks. These were played alongside some of the existing cello modules from #051000, some new ones adapted from the violin work with Darragh Morgan and student cellist Brandon Walsh (in particular bowing the spike whilst it was connected to the floor or with the cello on the player’s lap). Some of the cello modules are direct transpositions from the violin modules. Many of them involved pasting in a new clef (you can see the lines on the photocopy) and tippexing the pitches to accommodate the different strings for the harmonics. They worked on the violin, so it seemed a shame to waste the ideas! This was an approach I took throughout the project, making further use of existing material in new ways, often taking a rhythmic structure and applying it to material for another instrument. This allowed for some cross-referencing of ideas which was useful as the piece developed a wider range of material.
I think I developed the tuba material myself. Along with the guitar, tuba was the instrument I learned to play (just about) but had sold my instrument in 1998 in order to buy our first car, a blue Ford Fiesta. So I think I used one of the department’s instruments to experiment with, and did the rest from memory. There’s a page in my notebook dated 02.01.01 which lists some possible tuba sounds, and some of these made it into new modules in the piece.
The piece itself takes the same approach I used in #010201, with the players each having a pool of material from which they can select modules to play during the performance. In this version they were given a free choice, possibly allowed to repeat modules, and spaced them over the 20 minutes of the performance. At the same time, Monty’s material was played back on two CD players (I think – we may have used a computer) on shuffle play, with some silent tracks to space the sounds. This produced a mosaic-like arrangement of the material, and the two live players were amplified with a little reverb to draw the sound sources together. It was performed in St Paul’s in Huddersfield which has a very resonant acoustic and was the venue which had the most performances of the different versions of #[unassigned]. In many ways, this is the acoustic I think of as being #[unassigned]. It was such a strong part of how I conceived the material. It also emphasised my commitment to presenting the versions unamplified, despite boosting the live sound in this version. I almost always wanted to hear the direct sound of the instruments, even though in some acoustics this made it difficult to hear some of the sounds.