acts of balancing and unbalancing : 2022
Composed for and created in collaboration with Quiet Music Ensemble, (QME) a Cork based experimental music group who are dedicated to music that invites deep attention and perceptive listening, led by composer and performer John Godfrey.
For this composition, I built a set of glass and feedback instruments specially for the ensemble. Two pairs of glass vessels balance bodies of water. Using a hand operated mechanical system, the players raise the glasses up and down, causing them to fill or empty, in turn. The water levels change the tones of audio feedback by changing the resonant frequency of the space in the glass vessel. The instruments employ a similar concept and design to Tipping Point which is a computer controlled, mechanised installation which I also improvise live with.
QME perform with two pairs of glass vessels, operating the microphone gain, along with pitch shift and tremolo effects. With these tools they can coax a range of pulsing tones and harmonics from the vessels. The vessels are also extremely sensitive to external sounds and room resonance, which effect the tones produced. QME are invited to balance and unbalance the vessels of water and the delicate threshold of feedback. Along with these ‘acts of balancing and unbalancing’ the ensemble respond with their acoustic instruments which, in turn, balance and unbalance the feedback thresholds.
Acts of balancing and unbalancing (aobau) was premiered at Solstice Arts Centre, Navan in July 2022, performed by QME – John Godfrey on Electric Guitar and effects; Roddy O’Keeffe on Trombone; Ilse De Ziah on Cello; Seán Mac Erlaine on Flute / Clarinet; Dan Bodwell on Double Bass; with sound engineer Alexis Nealon. Images below from rehearsals and performance. Commissioned by The Quiet Music Ensemble with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland.
The film below was made by Tomasz Madajczak of a studio recording of aobau. The following photos are by Kathy Hinde of the premiere at Solstice Arts Centre.