Newton Resonance

The small 11th century Saxon church at Newton, from the unique and incredibly damp central tower (check the moss and mold).

It’s early July, I’ve sent off the string and vocal parts after finishing them three weeks ago, and I’ve been sweating over Protools beginners manuals and videos for the last month or so to try and remember how the software works. The very clear, relentlessly upbeat (and noticeably nasal) West Coast sound engineer who narrates them can grate eventually, as can the somewhat twee MOR guitar bands he uses to illustrate his points. It was a bit like kids TV in the 50’s (” So kids, I’ve made this model of Sputnik just using toilet paper tubes, library paste, and bent paper clips for the antenna…”) . Still… we got through it.

So above is the first of four pieces based on the resonances of the Peddars Way churches; it is built from local sounds of the (pissing) rain of the day I went through, plus birdsong from the area once I got far enough away from the main road to lose the traffic noise. I sampled some notes on piano, etc, plus some singing bowls and a couple of propane tanks here behind the Lazy K Ranch. These were, through the magic of radio, pitch-shifted and generally messed with to the various actual church frequencies returned on the sweeps (strangely, the church does not exist in a tempered continuum); +30 cents here, -49 cents there, to create the sounds to assemble. (A chapeau here to John Ward). Fun, if time-consuming. I started messing about with organizing the structure rhythmically from the series, but just started having too much fun. So much for a disciplined approach.

This is going to be used as a setting to some improvisations – exactly how yet remains to be seen.

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