Impressions of an Island Bungalow

These scores were made whilst staying in a 1920’s bungalow in Rottnest, July 2017. During an evening imbibing in the kitchen, I noticed lots of markings in the wooden floorboards. By pressing A3 pages into them I was able to create prints of the depressions and markings. As a result, I thought about how many people must have walked across them, enjoyed the space as I had, how many conversations had been imbued in them, and the amount of history they’d seen, good and bad. 

With the score placed on the floor, each player sits at one side and they observe its markings, light and shade for 5 minutes. Each player will have a different perspective of the score and will interpret in their own manner. During this time each player will consider the historical context of the place where the scores were made, the materials, and what gestures may represent what they see on the paper. Player may begin after 5 minutes, they may enter or be silent at any stage. The piece finished when players put their instruments down.

 

For this series I selected and played the following instruments.

Player 1: Voice, condenser microphone, speaker and mixer with reverb, delay, ring mod and looping.

Denoting time: The voice and feedback system is selected to create a direct impulse response to the immediate environment of the player so as to be aware of the context, but to also capture the natural resonant frequencies of the space. It has a metaphorical and physical meaning. The player ‘rides’ the input gain of the mic as necessary and uses the effects to generate interesting rhythms and textures.

 

Player 2: Bowed acoustic guitar and autoharp.

 

Referencing historical practice and materials: Bowed acoustic guitar and autoharp were used for their unique metallic and resonant sonorities. Using the tuning knobs whilst bowing to make pitch changes.

 

Player 3: Rainmaker, Thunder tube, triangle, chimes, bells, piece of iron ore stone

 

Creating space: The percussion instruments I’ve used create a sense of a familiar Australian landscape/environment. Thunder tube, rainmaker, bells (which to me sound like a flagpole knock in the winds, chimes etc.

 

Player 4: Piano accordion


The human connection: The piano accordion is used for it’s airy, breathing sounds, and is mostly played without notes. Occasionally, discordant tones are produced. But its capacity to sound like a respirator gives a human but ghostly kind of sound. This haunting sound is a reference to the fact that many Aborignal people were killed on Rottnest.

Influences/References:

 

  • Indeterminacy; John Cage - Variations Series, 1958-1978

  • Nonlinearity; Lindsay Vickery - The Evaluation of Nonlinear Musical Structures, 2011.

  • Moment Form; Karlheinz Stockhausen - Kontakte, 1958-1960

  • Discontinuity; Jonathon D Kramer - Moment Form in Twentieth Century Music, 1978.

  • The Event Score; Liz Kotz - Post-Cagean Aesthetics and the “Event Score”, 2001

PDF Version

Impression I - Ryan Burge
00:00 / 00:00

Player 4

Player 1

Player 2

Player 1

Player 2

Player 3

Player 4

Impression I

Player 3

Voice & Feedback

Bowed guitar and autoharp

Thunder tube, Rain maker

Piano Accordion

Impression II - Ryan Burge
00:00 / 00:00

Player 3

Player 4

Impression II

Player 1

Player 2

Player 1

Player 2

Player 3

Player 4

Voice & Feedback

Bowed guitar

Rain Maker, Thunder tube (spring scrapes), triangle and iron ore

Piano Accordion

Impression III - Ryan Burge
00:00 / 00:00

Player 3

Player 1

Player 4

Player 2

Player 1

Player 2

Player 3

Player 4

Impression III

Voice & Feedback

Bowed guitar and autoharp

Rain Maker, Thunder tube, bells

Piano Accordion

Realising the music: I imported the recordings and arranged them in my DAW to create a piece that sounds like it is being played by four people simultaneously. I’ve applied some small restorative effects such as noise/hum removal, Eq, stereo imaging, compression and reverb.​