This week I have been in residence at Cove Park with a lovely group of other artists as part of an Imaginate/National Theatre of Scotland week. We’ve had our own space to hide away in but everynight made food together, chatted, told ghost stories around a fire, shared ideas and talked about nothing and everything.
When I arrived the first thing I did was set up my speakers, but as soon as I got to the point of plugging them in It felt wrong, the silence here, with nothing but wind, trees, water was enough and the stillness and space was needed as the first extended period of time after a summer of heartache, moving house several times, creating new work fulltime, performing, touring, searching, dreaming, just not stopping….
So despite thinking I had come here to make music I suprised myself by instead spending alot of the time being still, listening to wind and rain and staring at the loch, the trees, the sky, walking with binaural microphones listening to the detail of every movement and sound around me, writing, reading, sleeping and eating my weight in good food with beautiful people.
Was I as productive as I hoped? not in the ways I had planned, I learnt a little more about what was exciting about binaural recording, I thought and wrote about sound, I looked at graphic scores, read about acoustics in urban landscapes, read some more writing by David Toop. I wrote some words the starts of new songs maybe. I wrote to write maybe for something maybe not. I thought about walking alot, the difference of walking with intent and direction and walking with no end, allowing myself to get lost, to walk for the sake of walking. I learnt some practical knowledge about how to score with Sibelius software for upcoming project with Bristol Reggae Orchestra and future work, but really importantly I also feel like I learnt how to remember to breathe, to let my shoulders rest, the importance of not trying to make something happen and in that realising and trusting that ideas happen thoughts are still there, allowing for space is important…
Here’s a fact about walking for you…I did the classic google research I entered into the search box: ‘women and walking’ The first thing that came up was that scientists had discovered that you can tell by a woman’s gait, her walk whether she can achieve vaginal orgasm…it’s all in the hips apparently.
I’m thinking about sound in a more detailed way, and about the importance of space and silence, my ears have had some space but been allowed to focus on the small, the detail, someone sent me a passage from the book ‘Nobody speaks of remarkable things’ by Jon Macgregor, I read it a long time ago and the way he describes the sounds of the urban spaces with such sensuality, physicality it’s really beautiful…It made me think about how you can write about sounds, I’m working on a audio led sound piece for a walk for GI with Glasgow Womens Library, perhaps an interesting way to access finding the journey for sound is to write more too…
From Jon Macgregor:
‘If you listen, you can hear it.
The city, it sings.
If you stand quietly, at the foot of a garden, in the middle of a street, on the roof of a house. Its clearest at night, when the sound cuts more sharply across the surface of things, when the song reaches out to a place inside you.
Its a wordless song, for the most, but its a song all the same, and nobody hearing it could doubt what it sings. ‘
This week is full of more team effort meetings with everyone, I’ve already met with Kim B and we’ve chatted about how to create live visuals with live music performance and a way that the visuals of a gig can tie into a whole feel with music videos and performer, and have an improvised liveness to it, we need to set a playdate to try stuff out now. I met with Martin and we’re doing a writing exchange, we both approach writing very differently, I’d love to be able to write narrative, learn how a story can be told, so I’ll send him some of my writing that is more image led and he’ll send me something of his and we’ll then send back our responses…and we shall see what happens…we talked about voice and authenticity the responsibility of writer, editor in working with verbatim work and interviews, how music is set to words, the different ways that can happen…also something potentially for future team effort, spoken word and sound performance of a something…I just set a date with Gilly to meet mentor Johnny too which is very exciting.
I leave Cove tonight or tomorrow, with a feeling in my chest and belly that is not so similar to nerves…but I think it’s just excitement and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed in a very good way by life and all the potentials of things I know coming up and the huge space of the unknown in all it’s new findings, learnings, sharings, makings, playing, performing, writings, failings, dreamings, love to come.
I can’t wait to see everyone again.