eau [o] n. (F, = water) 1. … [o] seeks to establish a metaphorical relationship between music and water. The meaning of this metaphor, as is the case with all metaphors, is endlessly open to interpretation. Completed in Berlin, February 2001 in the Grosse Tonstudio of the Technische Universitat Berlin, thanks to a DAAD stipendium.
Credits – Interviewees: Katrin Becker, Robert Frances, Guinevere Narraway, David Prior Voices: Isobel Bolter, Lee Differ, Antti Saario, Gareth Thomas, Richard Whitelaw, Michael Wolters; Musical Excerpts: Britten Sea Interlude No. 3 (from Peter Grimes); Debussy La Mer; Handel Water Music; Schumann Symphony No.3 (Das Rhenisch); Smetana Die Moldau (Vlatava); Instrumentalists: Iain Armstrong, violin; Alistair Bannerman, piano
This work was composed on the 8-channel digital sound system at EMS Stockholm while I was a visiting composer there in 1998. The piece grew out of my encounters with the Stockholm soundscape, which surprised me with its clarity and vitality – both above and below the ground… the chimes of church clocks audible across very large distances…the tunnelbana (subway) with its caverns hewn out of granite, where even quiet shuffles of feet are etched with clarity… skaters on the open air ice rink… footsteps on granite stairs and creaking floors. Along with these I integrated a number of field recordings made in my own country… a fairground, with ghost train and house of mirrors… wind gently resonating a flagpole… I found many of these sounds so captivating that I realised I was carrying impressions of them in my head, and frequently imagining the presence of one sound ‘inside’ another as I was hearing them (both in and out of the studio). ‘Allting Runt Omkring’ attempts to project some of that sensation by creating a new context in which field recordings from the natural world are integrated and transformed. All sound sources in the work are environmental in origin. I work exclusively with my own field recordings, since for me it is important to have a connection with the original context of my sound sources. In this piece the context in which sounds are heard and shaped was an important stimulus, while the tape medium allows me to forge new contextual relationships for the sound. For example, in Stockholm there are a large number of churches and public buildings in the main city area, especially Gamla Stan (the old town), but also across to the islands of Kungsholmen and Soder. At quarter hour intervals the clocks of Stockholm chime, and from a single vantage point one can hear an astonishing depth in the soundscape. The Stockholm tunnelbana also has a great acoustical presence and range of sounds, and in this piece I have tried to fuse sounds of ‘above’ and ‘below’ ground (for instance by linking the bell resonances to the tunnelbana, or by taking the noise of trains to the ice rink).