Tuesday, January 05, 2021

2020: Releases and Productions


Everything considered, 2020 was a productive year for me. I released two albums of compositions, one long improvisation, two music videos, and contributions to several compilations. This post summarises these nine releases, with listening/watching links.

The Albums

In March I released Universal Commercial Electric Telegraphic (Stolen Mirror 2020D01), with all income donated to Médecins Sans Frontières. The music pays homage to the telegraph with interlocking rhythms in an evolving environment of tape degradation and echoes. Listen on Bandcamp.

On World Listening Day (18 July) I recorded at a "secret" location on Lough Derg. This tape was repurposed live for uni.Sol_31 as an act of sonic time travel. Listen and download the improvisation World Listening Delay... it's free.

As 2020 ended I released The Last Frost Fair, a project that has been over twenty years in the making. Composed from the frozen fragments of a skipping compact disc, these crystalline sounds -- sometimes ambient, sometimes powerful -- reflect our world of thawing ice. Listen.


The Videos
As a response to the first pandemic lockdown I created the video "Handwringer" using bitcrush audio effects and hex edited video files. Released under the name 7PRS to YouTube.

Having previously produced two albums for Mai, Arcadia 1 (Stolen Mirror 2018D01) and Arcadia 2 (Stolen Mirror 2019D01), 2020 saw me working again with Steve McCourt. After filming for three days in County Clare, I returned to the studio for editing and compositing. The result transforms the unique karst formations of The Burren into fractal landscapes that reveal a hidden inner world. I also remixed the song itself for video release to promote the new album Gaia. Watch on YouTube.

The Compilations 

A black moon marks the occurrence of two new moons in a single calendar month. In 2019 there was such an event at 11:37 on 30 August. Sofia Records solicited sounds written and recorded in the 24 hours before and after the total darkness of this moon. My track "BLKmoon" was included on Black Moon - Waxing (Sofia Records) under the name 7PRS. Listen.

During the lockdown, Ed Devane provided a small bank of samples for artists to re-imagine as their own compositions. I created "Small Placebos" for the compilation Indirect Collaborations, available on Bandcamp.

Jim Griffin invited me to contribute an interstellar message, as inspiration for an album in progress. I imagined a transmission some lonely astronomer might pick up late at night in the middle of the desert. My short piece was weaved into Griffin's diverse and impressive album The Signal, which you can grab here.

Finally, I honoured the memory of Harold Budd by improvising "Field Piano". I hope this will act as a springboard to some new compositions for piano and percussion in 2021. Listen on SoundCloud

Performances

It goes without saying that this year sucked for performers of all stripes. I managed one gig, immediately before the first Irish lockdown.

Concept Null is a collective of artists and creative technologists from Limerick who have backgrounds in projection-mapping, audio engineering, real-time audio and visual effects, electronics, and coding for interactive systems. The Concept Null launch event was held at Pharmacia, Sarsfeld St., Limerick on Tuesday 10 March. 

I performed Music For Glaciers, a piece for two complex oscillators that relies on interactions between sound in a constrained physical space and the binaural listening apparatus of a typical human. In other words, it is a psychoacoustic experiment. I haven't figured out how to translate this to fixed media, or even if this is a good idea. Something else to ponder in 2021.

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