Voice and text

Sound-based works making use of voice (spoken texts, recorded conversation, singing) or texts, which I often write. Also both academic and more experimental texts on words and voice, and on other things. Some online or interactive ‘digital writing’ pieces with poetic texts, for reading or as part of musical performance.

As an intro, a while back I wrote a short essay on some of my works involving words and text, Local Materials (there’s my stop).

  • Bees and broom

    For a few years we lived on Pender Island, off the coast of British Columbia. Yellow broom, an invasive plant, was everywhere, regarded by many as an unwanted, destructive presence. But not by all …

  • Five-minute wonders

    Composed between 1997-2001, each of these short computer-processed soundscapes, midway between music and documentary (and sometimes with tunes), celebrates the ‘wonder’ of a particular time and place, and lasts exactly five minutes.

  • Here and there

    Here and there (2006) is a small piece of interactive digital writing. For several years I lived on an island. Like the moths, we relied on moon and stars for nocturnal navigation. For a period, life was very different.

  • How to play the piano (in 88 notes)

    I wrote and recorded the text for friend and fellow composer, Richard Hoadley to use in an interactive work with pianist Philip Mead.

  • Icarus

    In this piece for four voices and fixed sound, composed in 1993, the myth of Icarus is interwoven with brief extracts from Leonardo’s astounding writings on flight, and on the sun. Both could be said to represent a yearning for distant possibilities, spiritual or otherwise.

  • Insomnia

    The inability to sleep, despite attempts at rest. Like an insomniac this piece is agitated and unable to settle. The instrumentalists inhabit a dark, oppressive world which is constantly active, fragmentary and bordering on nightmare.

  • Islands of One

    Composed in 2007. I lived on a small island off the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada. An experience of serious illness while there was the starting point for these ‘sonic fictions’, four short audio-texts about experience and place.

  • Leonardo sketches

    The texts in these two very short movements, composed in 2000, are from some of the many notes and remarks that Leonardo da Vinci wrote in the margins and spaces of his Notebooks.

  • Local Materials (there’s my stop)

    A short essay from 2008, on my interest in words and texts, and making art that incorporates them. Originally published in Playing with Words: the spoken word in artistic practice, ed Cathy Lane, CRiSAP/RGAP/Cornerhouse 2008.

  • Losing it

    Losing it….losing it…close your eyes. Close your eyes! …
    Sleep… sleep – you’re losing it, losing it.
    Trying to smudge that white line of consciousness.
    Aching to fall… into oblivion.
    Trapped in limbo between sleep and the desire to sleep.
    Frozen beyond waking.

  • Making Place

    Composed 2013, for 1-2 instruments and electronics, and also available as a fixed video realisation. It’s a poetic exploration of place, and place making, and makes use of live interactive processing of animation, text and audio.

  • Paul’s Walk

    This work was made in 2015, for instrument (or two instruments) and mac App (iPad or mac). The performer influences the way the visual and aural landscape emerges and recedes, and tells a story about a walk, a lake, and being in a place. Words are drawn from an informal text on a walk ...

  • The Future

    Radiophonic miniature, 1995. This one-minute piece is a brief, evocative picture of children and their thoughts on what they want ‘in the future’ when they grow up.

  • Yes, really

    Written in 2008, ‘Yes, really’ reached the finals of the New Media Writing Prize 2010. It’s an email-based fiction in which the stories of three characters arrive in your inbox as a series of messages.