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Busk (electroacoustic music, composed with Nicholas Virgo, 1988)


Busk was commissioned by BRMB Radio as a celebration of Birmingham, and the piece attempts to achieve this using recordings of buskers along with other environmental sounds which we recorded in the city.

Rather than direct the listener to recognition of the music we recorded, our interest lay in the possibilities offered in the transformation of these sounds. Whilst such material might easily suggest a narrative or other extra-musical meaning, we didn't aim to explore this. The "journey" which the listener takes, then, is a surreal one as images melt, distort, change colour or become sharply focused.

The original recorded music becomes part of a bigger musical discourse and never appears as musical quotation, since even the most familiar sound is transformed in ways which lead the ear to concentrate on shapes and gestures derived from, but often unnoticeable in the original.

Commissioned by BRMB for IBA submission to Prix Italia 1988 (Special Mention); Programme Music Prize, 1989 Bourges Festival of Electroacoustic Music; on CD Cultures Eléctroniques 4. (LCD 278049/50) and Klang (NMC D035)