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Tiger Balm

for tape (originally for tape and movement)

Year:  1970   ·  Duration:  20m

Year:  1970
Duration:  20m

Composer:   Annea Lockwood


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This work was originally created in 1970 as a music theatre piece incorporating live and taped sounds and actions evocative of ancient erotic rituals, traces of which, I believe, still survive in the communal memory, dormant memories which may be evoked by sound. The score of that version was published in Source: Music of the Avant-Garde Issue No.9. I then made this second, longer version for tape alone.

Over a period of two years I assembled sounds which were, for me, highly sensuous. Rather than consciously working out a structure for them, I let the shape of Tiger Balm emerge on an unconscious level, letting the sounds arrange themselves, as if dreamed, and I found that they moved in a flowing transformation process. Very often a sound merges with its successor, blending together through shared characteristics which are frequently evocative of the tiger’s presence.

The sound used (a cat purring, a heartbeat, gongs, jews harps, a tiger, woman and plane) are all literal, and with the exception of speed change on the gongs and jews harp, none are modified. I find that the less I manipulate sounds, the stronger is their presence and their power for me. (Notes for the LP release on Opus One in 1981).