Time: two sessions (45 + 37 mins)
Environment: Grantham Butter Factory on a very hot summer’s afternoon and evening
Companion/s: all flutes, Ableton + midi foot controller, Jasmin on erhu w contact mic, Michael on feedback and electric upright bass, a Big Ass Fan (literally what it was called), and a little bit of contact with old trauma
We just played, over a long period of time. I do remember these two days, because they were well out of the ordinary, and also because they are tied to a little bit of trauma resurfacing which always helps so much with memory haha… Grantham is the town that was washed away in the flash flood that started at the top of the mountain in Toowoomba, where mum and I were caught in a car that started to fill with water (we eventually got out a window, sat on the roof, held onto a rope, and were inevitably washed down the road-that-was-now-a-river, and somehow both managed to climb out virtually unharmed). I’ve had PTSD from the experience, which is largely resolved, but I’d actually never visited Grantham before, so it caught me by surprise and brought up some flashbacks, especially as I tried to go to sleep that evening. My anxiety levels were also heightened for a few days afterwards.
Probably I am the obnoxious one in this group, foregrounding my sounds and filling the spaces generously left by Jasmin and Michael. I leave space where I don’t play, and very occasionally play at such a low dynamic that the details of Michael’s resonances and Jasmin’s contact mic crumples come through. The activity and grittiness of Jasmin’s erhu is a more obvious companion (rather than accompaniment) to my sound, and we alternate periods of greater and lesser movement.
The overall sounding we came to was a creepy, ominous beauty. Things that hang in the air and create uneasy harmonies, with long echoes and delays and expanding feedbacks. It is rarely violent – what is is my doing. I build up and drop out, revealing some of the subtleties of my co-sounders.
In this environment, it’s easy to work with repetitions revealing slowly unfolding changes. Things move as though through thick honey, the viscosity only lessening as you heat it up over time, until it can flow sticky sweet and quickly infect everything.
I have a nice vocalise about 20 mins into the first session. I’m not sure I can listen to all this (and the following day’s) today, although I would like to. There is several hours of this altogether, which is a beautiful thing to have produced. This was Jasmin’s idea and I am deeply grateful for this time, even if it stirred up some old sediment for me – sometimes it’s good to make those contacts anyway as it’s clearly not going anywhere.