Currents/Points

Currents/Points was written between February and May of 2016, for an instrumentation of large ensemble (fl/picc, ob, bcl, bn, hn, tp, tb, 2 vlns, vla, vc, cb, perc, pno) and video. Inspired by the distribution of water droplets from the Lakeside Terrace at the Barbican Centre, London (shown below), footage of these droplets also forms the bulk of the video material. This footage then served as the basis for the musical material as well: I slowed the video down by 50% and then asked a pianist to try and play along with it as precisely as possible (drops in the left side of the shot are lower down on the keyboard; those on the right are higher up) into a MIDI keyboard connected to notation software. I then ordered the bits of material by density and used them as a basis for the piece. If the original instigation was the chaotic system at work in the distribution of the droplets, then it is transcribed (transmedialised) four times: by virtue of being filmed, then transcribed by the pianist, then orchestrated by me, then played (from fairly difficult parts) by the musicians. The aesthetic merit of these systems (I’m reluctant to call them ‘natural’) in contrast with artificiality and obviously human design is the locus of this piece.

 

The piece was recorded at the Milton Court Concert Hall by musicians from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama conducted by James Weeks.

 

Barbican Centre lakeside terrace during Wikimania 2014.

Barbican Centre Lakeside Terrace