The end of 2018 brought the first outing of a new project in collaboration with Stevon Russell (Guitar and vocals), Stefano Ancora (percussion) and Mark Amura (Video). I met Stevon at a PRS event in 2016 where we were both workshopping a piece. We kept in touch and met last year to discuss a new project, semi-improvised combining performance, electronics and visuals. Whilst discussing ideas Stevon mentioned the idea of Pierre Boulez and his concept of the smooth and the striated within music. Striations are a geological phenomena in which ridges and patterns are created in rocks through geological fault. Musically, this is obviously very open to interpretation and it is something that we are starting to explore.
For our piece, Striations, so far the idea of rocks and imagery have been a key motivator. We spent a day sampling rocks - shaking, throwing, immersing in water, even boiling and frying!! These samples are scattered throughout the piece in their original form and as edited atmospheres. I also made a percussion instrument from them (perhaps an Unorthodox Audio project for the near-future). I managed to create some drone sounds from our samples but struggled to create anything meaningfully melodic and in my quest for this came across Thomas Rex Beverly's Ringing Rocks library, recording the tone of the ringing rocks in Pennsylvania.
Following our first outing, there is a lot to work on and to develop, and I will be meeting with Stevon later today to discuss where and how to go with the music next. We are working on keeping the piece improvised in places, structured in others, yet always flexible so each performance is different and perhaps open to free collaboration so we can bring different people in - each with their own ideas and interpretation of how to approach a musical Striations. See the video below for footage from our first performance.