Dreel (electroacoustic music, 1996)

The title, Dreel, has a number of associations which are all reflected in the sound materials chosen for the piece. First, it is the name of a river close to where I lived, in Anstruther, at the time I was composing the work; the river gives its name to a bar, The Dreel Tavern; and the bar was formerly The Railway Tavern until the railway closed in the 1960s. Finally, it is a contraction of ‘Dunmall’s Reel’: ‘Reel’ refers to the Scottish dance music genre, and Paul Dunmall’s improvised performance on Scottish border pipes is heard in various guises throughout the piece.

Juxtaposition and layering as well as digital processing are used to create playful transitions, ambiguity and blurring between these very different, but recognisable images in sound, without trying to resolve the significance of the images.

Dreel was commissioned by BEAST for the rumours concert series in Birmingham, with funds from West Midlands Arts.

Published on CD Sonic Art from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Huddersfield and Newcastle (MPS MPSCD0013) and Legacies (Sargasso SCD28046)