a sensual vibrating
techno-hynmn designed by sound artist kaffe matthews for Reading’s
travellers. ‘ drop time ‘, will be playing from the
glass pod in the station’s forecourt from October 30th to
November, 2002, absolutely free.
relax. drop in. come be transported by delicious sounds vibrating
and circulating your body, as you lye stretched out in matthews’
huge red velvet sonic armchair. with 9 speakers immersed invisibly
in plush upholsetery, the music emerges through the fabric, defying
gravity, perverting time, taking the listener away .
made by matthews’ recordings from train travel in and around
Reading, digitally processed to spin this dynamic space.
you ever listened to those beautiful melodies flying up the loo
hole as a train rattles along its line? It’s a drone based
hum with always a note or two or three that hangs in the air and
vibrates and changes with the passing rattling landscape. Stick
a microphone down the hole and record it and use as the basis
for music making. Something I had intended to do for a while,
and as I had suspected, produced rich and melodic material that
became the raw stuff I processed to make ‘drop time’.
is the 3rd piece I have made for ‘red chair’, and
so there’s a much greater understanding of the things that
work, that really communicate with the sitter. Like which frequencies
relax, titillate, alarm, amuse, and then how to move them between
the speakers, and what could happen with them on the way. And
does the communication still remain there….? or are we now
vibrating fat underneath? Having built the chair so that particular
colours or frequencies would play out of particular speakers,
I obviously use their location as a map or design around which
to shift sounds. It’s gloriously architectural, and each
time creates a real space for the listener, no, sitter/feeler
to travel away in.
the physical phenomena created by music were the initial reasons
for my wanting to make sonic furniture in the first place, aside
from having a particular specialist portable venue to compose
for, and to make something for a solo audience.
let’s acknowledge music as a vibrational physical earthbound
fact. Access its physicality, get inside, use these elements as
the design of the song.
is the way, once working on this furniture thing again, ideas
fired on the making of another piece. One that could create a
social space as well as allow play with a listener in other positions.
What about lying down? Would folk lye down on a bed in a public
space with strangers and relax enough to feel something? Using
a lying down platform thing, there would also be space for me
to build substantial bass cabinets underneath. So to enable the
making of a work that really utilises relationships between the
human body’s own vibrational frequencies with particular
sonic ones, and then the emotions that appear as a result.
huge sonic bed could be the thing, Yes, then invite people round
to the studio and test different frequencies on them, see if we
can get eyeballs rattling, hips rolling, crania shaking, yet remaining
within the pleasure paradigm. No fearsome, painful, horror-ride
this one, no. Deep joy will be the intention, and of course the
funny thing is, is that possibly the majority of lyers would not
heed a drop of this music if it was playing at them from a pair
of wall mounted speakers.
should add here that another aspect of my compositional work has
been looking to harness external natural processes outside of
my own ideas as systems to make music. In a way the pitch changing
melodies of the train resonances during one journey did that by
determining the sonic and melodic aspects of ‘drop time’,
but since 1999, I have twice been in a situation to harness the
never repeating patterns of the weather to make music. (see ‘weather
made’, ). Here then another opportunity arose to possibly
explore a different system as a structural source and driver;
that being of the human body’s own electrical activity in
response to different situations. I had had the pleasure of being
introduced to ongoing research at the Biophysics department of
Gt.Ormond Street Hospital, London, where I could have access to
the latest scanning and magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
Here I could put myself through a series of emotional experiments,
(pleasure-experiments?) in the brain scanner, record the electromagnetic
radiation produced and use that to create a compositional system
I could exploit to make the work for a sonic bed.
MRI machinery also produces fantastic sounds to sample and it
could be interesting also to record snips of the researchers musics
most associated with pleasure as raw stuff for this system. Interesting
relationships were appearing .
A chance to reflect organic processes and details in a precisely
honed and digital form.
A sound artist works with temporality, with the invisible. Here
I could develop and compose with invisible information direct
from the body : to compose a music for the body from the electricity
of our thoughts.
then the phone rang, and a series of discussions led to a commission
from the ‘ her noise’ exhibition. Yes, go ahead, make
a sonic bed. A variety of deep frequencies underneath, tweeter
pillows, - interesting.
The search for that music can continue.
her noise” exhibition, curated by Anne Hilde Neset and Lina
D.Russell, produced by Forma; due to open early 2004 at the Baltic
Arts Centre, Gateshead, then tour the UK and other parts of Europe.]
A huge bed. In a public space..
Audience invited to get on it., to lie on it, .
There being a particular hyped artwork in existence, there have
been a few doubtful responses to the thought of a sonic double
bed. ……. “Oh no, the bed thing has been done.