for Chatterbox


We could was an exploratory piece devised during one week at Dartington International Summer School while on a bursary for Dominic Murcott’s composing for voice course ‘Chatterbox’. A wooden ‘Chatterbox’ seat was installed in the grounds of Dartington Hall in Devon for the duration of the festival. Myself and fellow composers created works for this seat during our week using voice as our starting point.

We could, in situ in the grounds, played on the sitter’s sense of reality and self in space, playing with a sense of doubt and semi-confusion.

Intended to be heard in position in the grounds at Dartington Hall – I used field recordings of the area so as to aurally confuse the sitter. In the recording we hear some children walking past singing and a gardener cutting with shears: is the gardener there? are the children? The sitter turns their head to find out, but cannot place the sound. What is the real reality of this seemingly utterly natural and beautiful space? Is there more?

Likewise, the lone (or pair maximum) sitter is suddenly accompanied by the sigh of another presence in their secluded space. Did they hear a sigh? It becomes clear that, yes, they did. The voice then speaks on an un-placeable theme; speaks of something shared, which could be many different things to many different sitters. The experience becomes subjective for the listener – the track leaves scope for individual imaginings. We could, but we could what? The choice is yours.

I spent this week re-exploring logic audio as a tool and also focused on my own interest in the voice as tool and the concept of an actual body in an actual space as a manipulable element of composition.

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