David Cunningham - water
  Year :   1992
  Location :   England
  Worktype :   Album
  Materials:   -
  Info :   piano 510. Available from http://www.stalk.net/piano/pianocat.htm

  Work Details  
  The music on this CD was recorded for film, television, dance or other purposes under a variety of conditions. Some pieces began as a speculation in the studio, some were made to picture and some are reworks or reductions of other work. The instruments are mostly acoustic sources usually subjected to processes which derive from the malleability of tape as a physical medium. Occasionally there is the sound of a recognizable instrument, but the rest of the sound is a false acoustic space of treated sounds looping, delaying, reversing and being stretched and overlaid in various ways. The choice of input material for these processes comes in part from the relationship of this music to context, to the slow and ambient nature of the film and television images it originally served as atmosphere, counterpoint or sub-text. Within these structures texture, continuity and acoustic space are as important as melody or harmony - an example is the way that many of the tracks fade in and out creating the possible context of an unheard continuity, a time-based frame which can imply unheard music before and after the known material. Here the listener is removed from direct reference to physical space, that being an act of imagination. One principle behind this (usually incorporated unconsciously), is to create the opportunity for the listener to explore a method of listening which is not based on the prescriptive nature of classical form or that of European art music. Whilst the aesthetic of a recorded orchestra suggests an acoustic reality, this music is, in part, attempting to alter that reality to suggest or imply an unknown or impossible acoustic space, to allow associations which are not possible within the concert hall such as a set of relationships between music and the natural world. Much of the music is created in such a way that the structure of the sounds is deliberately simple, allowing the illumination of aspects of the sound or texture that would not be so apparent with conventional melody, in a way attempting to explore inside the sound -this is best seen on tracks 1, 3 and 13, (and in a related way, track 8), where sounds are repeated at different pitches in such a way that the pitch is allowed to determine the length of the sound and the frequency of the repetitions, thereby revealing the time-based relationship of pitch to rhythm. These structures allow the possibility, if the listener should choose, to listen actively and analytically. This invention or re-invention of a structure of harmony based on the relationship of pitch to time is a logical extension of my compositional choice to work with sound as a physical medium, a recorded signal, rather than a historical prescription of notation, organisation and performance. If this is or has been film music it is not the narrative of the hollywood or bollywood epic, rather it has something to do with works which have a different structure; film as document or atmosphere, the European or Japanese art movie. track by track breakdown 1 stars 5.17 A reworking of existing material, loops made from elements of the multitrack master of the track Glide/Spin on the album Fourth Wall . Originally made for 5 Closedowns , my series of television pieces made in 1983. The images are all of reflections on slow moving water in bright sunlight. 2 the next day 2.23 See track 15 - an extension based on similar source material made, naturally enough, the next day. 3 once removed 1.54 A more minimal version of the technique used on track 1, the source is one guitar multiplied about 10 times at 4 different pitches. 4 the fourth sea 2.20 Made for Ashley Bruce s Fragile Earth documentary on the polluted Mediterranean. The fifth sea, recorded the same day, became the mirage on the greaves, cunningham CD (piano 506). 5 white blue and grey 4.58 A remix of an unused film soundtrack minus drums, bass, saxophone solo, etc. 6 shade creek 2.33 The first of a series of multiple guitar pieces made in 1986 in which my main concern was to usefully employ the failures and idiosyncracies of my ability on the instrument. 7 short winter s day 4.05 For Chris Rodley s 1992 documentary Naked Making Lunch on William Burroughs and David Cronenberg. 8 blue river 3.59 A reworking of material used in the Mediterranean documentary (see track 4). This forms the second release of an occasional series built around phasing repeating phrases; the first is one summer on the greaves, cunningham CD (piano 506). 9 beneath the vines 2.56 The fourth 1986 guitar piece, see track 6. 10 yellow river 6.04 Again made for 5 Closedowns , for this sequence the water reflected a yellow so saturated that it reproduces differently on every television set. 11 low sun 2.27 As track 7, for Chris Rodley's documentary, a slowed down remix of fragments of a song never mixed or otherwise used. 12 only shadows 3.20 Made for a restaurant scene in a work for television by Robert LePage. Reworked from an earlier track (see track 5) using the elements left out of that version. 13 a liquid hand 2.51 See track 3, a similar structure. 14 dark ocean 2.07 Derived from a series of delay loops of which others provided some of the music for Ken McMullen's film 'Zina' (1985). 15 the same day 7.01 Made for a gallery installation by Deborah King, within a 24 hour deadline, the theory being that it took less time to make a new piece than to search through old tapes for something suitable. On that particular day Grenville Davey was welding next door and his power drain affected the speed of my analogue tape recorders, creating a subtlety of tuning that would be impossible with digital machines. David Cunningham 1992