Composing the music for Turbine

Turbine is a new work presented by Collusion Music and DanceThree dancers, two violinists and live electronics present an hour-long micro ballet exploring power and identity.  I composed the music.  Let me tell you how.

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Who am I ?

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All my life I’ve been trying to work out what my music is.

Some people know from early on exactly what music to make.  I didn’t.  I am still not really sure.  Even still, inch by inch, I’m starting to find a sound which is all my own.

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Turbine is about struggling with identity.  Gareth Belling, our choreographer, explores intimacy, power dynamics, and gender, in this work.  

So the music needed to be disparate things, coming together.

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So I looked for broken things.  Tarnished, old – with their own sound.  I visited local markets where they run steam engines, and I captured those sounds.  I collected a number of old toys and recorded them.  I broke some electronics (doing so often didn’t make any useful sounds, but I enjoyed it).  I prepared a piano (again).  I recorded a harmonium of indeterminate age, and a hundred year old Swiss music box.

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In all my electronic music, when I collect sounds in this way they come together as one single palette.  I use my computer and samplers to pull them apart, into their micro elements (their grains).

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Ben Greaves – one of Collusion’s violinists – visited me.  We recorded a host of unusual sounds generated by the violin, in every which way (save the manner you’d normally play it).  To this palette I added a number of analogue synthesizers.  Mainly because they’re fun.

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The violin melodies woven around and through the electronic part are intentionally anachronistic; harking backwards centuries perhaps, but also backwards in my own life – my earlier musical experiences being bound up with string and wood.  Together these disparities, and scuffed and fragmentary elements provide a means to reach into the center.  To see a way through.

Turbine is happening this week in Brisbane, beginning Wednesday evening.  Details for the event can be found here.

 

3 thoughts on “Composing the music for Turbine

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