During 2007 I spent a lot of time making field recordings of background noise in Paris, and analysing the spectral and rhythmic content of those recordings. I found the more I listened to my recordings, the more musical material I found hidden in these background hisses and hums, chatterings and otherwise banal noises: rhythms, mysterious melodies, energies and harmonic tensions. While working on this commission for the NZSO, I decided to try to capture the intrinsic musical essences I could hear in my field recordings, and interpret those sounds in an orchestral context, with the juxtaposition of the original noise recordings finding musical relationships in the orchestral counterpart. The resulting piece is a conjuring of various energies, or furies, caught in the background noise of Paris, and finding their way into the back of my throat to be sung into a quiet fury.
Antonyms of Trust is a poem about water; about how our water is being stolen and degraded, about the many New Zealand rivers with signs saying “do not swim – may cause illness” or the dry riverbeds surrounded by farmland with constantly pumping pivot irrigators. “Once upon a better time, the poor man’s wine flowed beneath our feet and bubbled up between the streets…”
It is impossible to live in Wellington without paying attention to its environment, or the environment paying attention to you. Equally, it is impossible to leave without carrying an interior imprint of its sharp green hills, scudding clouds, dragon sea, and particularly for me, those days when it suddenly all stops leaving the city suspended between a hush of blue sky and a seemingly frozen harbour. Blue Kisses Green is somehow ‘about’ this elemental ferociousness, delicacy, and beauty.