Coastlines Project, (#two)

See Coastlines Project (#one), to get some background info/initial sound recordings on the work I’ve been creating for some more context.

As I navigate through learning this new instrument, I still ask myself, how will this become a performance piece of 30 minutes? This post will be more about of my inner dialogue of this point in the process.

The process of this research journey has taught me so much about stripping back. Of asking, what is truly needed? How will my decisions support the heart of what I am asking here?

Rocks and shells placed on the strings inside the piano

Rocks and shells placed on the strings inside the piano

After a run-through of some of the techniques I had developed, into a thirty minute “performance” for a few of my peers, one question popped out in particular. Am I composing this piece? Am I improvising this? And if it is in-between, how can I be confident in my choices, and at the same time, have a fresh perspective on the material I am producing? It is in the moments of “ah, what was that sound? Let me keep doing that, see what else emerges!”, the unpredictable, sometimes rough around the edges, and indeterminate moments that are actually the ones that stand out the most. Any piece of material that sound at all fabricated in the least, stands out as pre-determined and looses some of that magic of the unpredictable.

These sounds have also taught me to take my time. To enter into a deeper listening space. And because this sound world these materials create is unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable in a way, it takes a little more time to enter into them. In contrast with a four-to-the-floor 120 BPM track with a groovy baseline — we know what this is and immediately can relax. We’ve heard this before and somewhere in our minds, it goes into a category “familiar”. The unstable, harmonics shifting, buzzing, pitch bending sounds these materials create with the piano and my techniques are brand new.

So, to simplify once more.

Listen. Take your time. Silence is a space of integration. One sound at a time. There is a world inside of the simplest of sounds. Allow it to be.