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Brittle (cello, piano and tape, 1992)


For Interfusion (Judith Mitchell and Phillip Mead).

One of the aspects of electroacoustic music which most intrigues me is that of the virtual image "projected", like an imaginary film, into the listening environment. Here, sounds on tape can be alchemical, appearing to transform the real to the surreal and the abstract. Acoustic instruments don't have this power - if we close our eyes, a piano remains a piano; a 'cello is still a 'cello.

But in Brittle they do change. Although what we hear is always clearly 'cello and piano, we are presented with a multi-perspectival sound-image, hearing the instruments from inside and out in the same moment. Just as cubist painting attemps to describe multiple views of a subject rather than a single view, Brittle projects simultaneous, multiple sound images of the instruments.

The material is orgainsed into energetic clusters and patterns, overlaid to create dense and lively textures of instrumental and recorded sounds whose flow of perspectives marks the progress of the piece.