Watervoices - a performance for live and pre-recorded voice
Commissioned by artist-curators Charlotte Still and Clare Whistler for the closing event of Waterweek in Hailsham, Sussex, 16th March 2014, as part of Clare Whistler's Leverhulme Artist Residency at Queen Mary, University of London.
The piece was originated in my thinking about how a waterfall is made up of individual drops of water, and I wanted to make a work which explored how separate ‘voices’ can be combined to create a form of polyphony.
The piece was created by recording drops from a tap running at varying speeds, and gradually getting slower. I re-recorded myself vocalising each version, using the sound 'thuh' to replicate the sound of each drip. The 6 resulting pre-recorded 'voices' were spatially installed around the space, so that each audience member's experience was a unique combination. I had pitched each 'voice' on a whole tone scale, sometimes called the 'Alice in Wonderland' scale, as it has a rootless, cold, washy and otherworldly quality, which seemed to suit a piece about water. I moved around the space adding the 7th 'voice' live (the octave above the lowest note). As I moved, I synchronised to each rhythm according to whichever was most prominent, further overlaying and transferring rhythms from one part of the space to another.