Jack Harris is currently undertaking the Heterotic II residency here at Primary, this post document his experiences over the first week of the residency.

The Heterotic II residency is a partnership between Eastside Projects and Primary that offers an artist based in the West Midlands the chance to test and develop new work and ideas and develop networks and professional connections across the Midlands. The residency is funded by Turning Point West Midlands and is the third in a series of residencies designed to give practitioners based in the West Midlands the opportunity to spend time working elsewhere.

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I started the week with an introductory talk. I outlined one goal, and two processes

Goal: The development of haptic relationships to sounding phenomena

Processes:

1. Improvisation / responsive playing – sitting, listening, with brought materials and technologies, intuitively playing, with restraint, in an attempt at developing an experiential music, rich, resonant, slow, and environmental in form, blocks of sound shifting and drifting akin to a condensed circadian movement; the experience of which is calming, static, and embodied.

2. The realisation of written scores – A quasi-abstract viewing / simplified isolation of specific materials and phenomena through instruction scores that specify materials and actions, leave lots to the open and responsive approach of the ear, and give formal timings within which parts are to be sounded (i.e ‘select four pitches, play them during these formal timing restrictions, search for resonance’).

Work is recorded.

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I located myself in building two at Primary. It’s a big old wooden annex style building typical of the type found in schools and hospitals as a cheap means of generating new rooms at low cost. The building is unused and empty.

One room in particular interested me, it’s resonance was of a reasonable length and warm in quality. The majority of recordings made during this week happened in this room.

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Numerous improvisation were recorded over several days, and the combination of environmental sound (natural and amplified), pure tones, wavering tones, rich room-based and chamber-based feedback, and field-recordings combined with the resonance of the room to generate the experiential stasis I was searching for.

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Two scores were realised in multiple recordings.

Score one, titled “In search of resonance, upon idealised geometric conceit”, was written for an open session inviting studio holders of Primary to create music with me. The realisation was made by myself, Georgina Barney, Rebecca Lee, and Jim Brouwer.

The score instructs the individual to consider one of three terms – ‘percussive’, ‘resonance, or tone-like’, and ‘textural’. Each participant must select one term as a mode of sound and search for resonance, only having the option to play during the timings for their given parts. Anything not specified is open. The result is a stark focus upon particular materials and sound modes, as well as a form based upon comparison of these different elements; in that sense we also focus upon the geometry and logic of form.

Score two is part of a series entitled ‘Study of simply pitch relationships within formal and material restrictions’. This particular score was written for myself and Rebecca Lee, for Bricks, Organ Pipes, and Flute. Each player selects four pitches (2 high, 2 low) on their wind instrument, and also considers the two modes of generating these pitches and sounding their bricks: a short duration, and a longer duration, itinerant, constant, or circular.  Certain pitches are able to be played at certain times, alongside accompaniment of bricks, and directions as to the short / longer duration are given. Again, a focus upon materials, alongside a focus upon the relationship between different pitches, pitches and texture, and the general formal comparisons occurring.

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Rebecca Lee and myself also realised a text score I have written that calls for actions to be announced, pronounced into a shotgun microphone (giving a perspective that you could describe as ‘broadcast EQ’) and then the action carried out, recorded using a spaced ambient-pair of omni-directional microphones (giving an open and ‘natural’ perspective of a space / environment).

- – - Cue shotgun microphone recording – - -

“The sound of a brick held by a seated person”

- – - Cue ambient recording – - -

(wait)

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