sounding out 2018

21 09 2018

cathedral cavecathedral cavecathedral cave

 

 

 

This year started off with a surprise find. Hidden away just outside Wakefield centre, in the midst of a leafy street, this superb building has a welcoming lightness and such inspiring acoustics. St Austin has a calming effect with slightly subdued gentle tones, but quickly, my playing felt fluid and free.

Onto the next series, during a visit that took me from mid-Wales, near the border, to the much loved Snowdonia and the north coast.
Wigmore village church was a pleasant start, with exciting explorations of different musical territories. With each new season, i notice changes in my playing, and with each new location, new stories unfold.

The tracks presented here offer a range of buildings, each with its own architectural style, distinctive sound, and its own character. I hope the music pays tribute to the individual atmosphere of the places i visit. Perhaps some of the highlights may be the recordings from Harlech, during a lunchtime visit. A calm haven in a busy touristic area, bright and light, gently powerful. In Barmouth, a majestic presence at the top of the hill has a stilling effect. The sound is not as wide as one would expect for a building this size, but the wooden interior gives warmth and character.

And finally, it was such a pleasure to visit Gwydir Uchaf chapel again. A small humble interior with deep colours; the painted ceiling and the wooden furniture added richness, and the feel of the place snatched me from the present into a distant past.

High on my list, i really enjoyed visiting the grand, and beautiful Cathedral Cave. This time, i was there in the middle of the day. There was a very different vibe to my previous visits. There were a few people around, but i caught a quiet stretch when i could revisit the immersive feel and get lost in the palpable, thick presence of the place. Diving into the long tails and surround splashes of sounds reflected by the many facets of raw rock. Soft bounces all around, gentle mist hanging in mid air. Single tones gliding slowly across the emptiness. This place always has such a strong effect on me.

This post presents quite a range of locations, unlike others that focus on a particular area, but it is an opportunity to reflect on and listen deeply to the distinctive characters of architectural spaces. I hope you enjoy visiting them with me.

counting steps to happiness
alto saxophone, 04 june 2018
st austin, wakefield

.
.
.

the space in between
alto saxophone, 04 june 2018
st austin, wakefield

.
.
.

in the arms of wisdom
alto saxophone, 04 june 2018
st austin, wakefield

.
.
.

.
.
.

high tide
alto saxophone, 19 august 2018
cathedral cave

.
.
.

shimmers
alto saxophone, 19 august 2018
cathedral cave

.
.
.

slow drip
alto saxophone, 19 august 2018
cathedral cave

.
.
.

rock facets
alto saxophone, 19 august 2018
cathedral cave

.
.
.
wigmoremuch wenlockmuch wenlockmuch wenlockbarmouthbarmouthbarmouthharlechbarmouthgwydir uchaf chapelgwydir uchaf chapelgwydir uchaf chapel

.
.
.

circle of angels
alto saxophone, 11 august 2018
gwydir uchaf chapel, llanrwst

.
.
.

round the labyrinth
alto saxophone, 11 august 2018
gwydir uchaf chapel, llanrwst

.
.
.

becoming
alto saxophone, 08 august 2018
st tanwgs, harlech

.
.
.

lantern on the path
alto saxophone, 08 august 2018
st tanwgs, harlech

.
.
.

net of views
alto saxophone, 08 august 2018
st tanwgs, harlech

.
.
.

across the water
alto saxophone, 07 august 2018
st johns, barmouth

.
.
.

flutter of wings
alto saxophone, 07 august 2018
st johns, barmouth

.
.
.

slow clouds
alto saxophone, 07 august 2018
st johns, barmouth

.
.
.

blue above
alto saxophone, 05 august 2018
holy trinity, much wenlock

.
.
.

slanted light
alto saxophone, 05 august 2018
holy trinity, much wenlock

.
.
.

wanderer
alto saxophone, 05 august 2018
holy trinity, much wenlock

.
.
.

curtain crease
alto saxophone, 02 august 2018
st james, wigmore

.
.
.

undergrowth
alto saxophone, 02 august 2018
st james, wigmore

.
.
.

taking the castle
alto saxophone, 02 august 2018
st james, wigmore

.
.
.

Advertisements




collaboration with ayse

8 04 2018

 

 

 

 

i met up with my friend ayse recently to talk about doing some more work together, and this got me reminiscing about our previous collaborations. so i thought i’d share some documents of this.

 

when i first contacted ayse, it was after coming across some of her performances around the theme of migration. her dance moves reminded me of energy practices like qi gong or tai chi and there was a definite vibe that i could relate to. very quickly, we found out that we had some common interests and that our practice of mindfulness, meditation as approach and creative output was highly compatible.

 

 

 

so merging the themes of our respective work, we spontaneously and very rapidly took this experimental work to the public.

the first instance, particularly, was visually stunning.

the communication during the performance, listening and close connection really worked.

and i was really amazed by the resulting painting created by ayse’s moves across the canvas.

the contents and ideas behind this project really work together on such an essential level, with the movement leaving a visible mark as metaphor for the deeply transforming experience of migrating to another country and culture.

 

the sounds, at times harsh and jarring, at time lyrical, converse closely with the other layers on the work. gradually, i started to introduce repetitive patterns played over time using circular breathing and this helped introduce a rhythm and pace for the movements, and allowed us to get deeper into the zone.

 

 

 

we had several practice sessions since then, and the underlying understanding and spiritual connection is of course very present.

this is something rather rare. and i am very keen on continuing this collaboration, whatever form it may take.

 

 

ayse has been writing about our project on her blog. check out her comments here.

 

 

 

below are a couple of videos taken of our performances. the recording is a bit rough, but still a good document of the very beginning of this collaboration.

 

ayse also has some videos of a practice session in a really interesting space:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





The Great Flood… new release by Hiss Noise Records

21 02 2018

i’m very pleased to announce the release of an album by the Japanese netlabel Hiss Noise Records.

The Great Flood is a one take improvisation of electroacoustic music recorded in 2007. as you probably noticed, I have been releasing music, selecting significant works that have punctuated my musical development over the years. each new album is in a very different style and conceptual approach to composition (please see the compositions page for other releases). hopefully, there will be many more to come, taking us closer to my recent practice. but for now, I am delighted to see this work made available for public listening.

this piece was recorded at a significant turning point in the development of my electroacoustic work. I had a few years of practice after my first laptop outing during my university years, playing solo, and in many collaborations. this included intensive training, performing improvisations live while I was hosting a radio show on Sheffield live every week for a period of time and later, performing regularly while in France with incredible musicians like my good friend Heddy Boubaker (in duo – see our live in theatre du ring – or in groups like H2C), or with the electro-jazz quartet nobi-nobi
and many others, for example, during the zieu m zic festival (see the chronological database of performances in my website). fresh from the festival in the summer of 2007, I negotiated my way over to Sheffield through disaster zones and amongst severe floods that hit the country at the time.

the album came out of this period of work and experiences. I tried to combine my attraction to minimal material influenced by the unessentialists, the traditional electroacoustic compositions, the noise and improv practices, and the sound therapy which had become part of my working ethos.

I hope you enjoy the journey.

many thanks to yoshinori for his enthusiasm and agreeing to take this work on his label, and for the fitting and very beautiful artwork.

.
.
.

 

 

hervé perez: laptop, field recordings, sound design, processing, electronics – live recording and mastering.

recorded on july 1st 2007 – mastered at nexttime studios

This recording is an improvisation performed with laptop. the sound materials comprise field recordings, sound design, live processing and electronics.
Field recordings feature sounds from the five elements, and are processed to highlight musical and vibrational qualities inherent in the elements. Location recordings also present a range of soundscapes of both natural and constructed environments, architecture and architectural spaces, all focusing on the principle of resonance.

The piece was performed during a time of great floods that hit the entire country and reflects on our complex relationship with the environment. The problem of climate change is ever more relevant today and this is reflected in the interaction between sounds natural and industrial, recorded and electronically produced.
The titles further this theme in reflecting on the very basic act of perception, our interpretation of what reality is and how we position ourselves in relation to it; The inner and outer realities as they come into contact.

 

 

.
.





sounding out scotland – coda

10 01 2018


 

 

 

Clachan church

is situated in an amazing setting, along a stunning coastline, splendid views on applecross that are both twee and very wild. The church is slightly tucked away and usually quiet. it feels welcoming and cold at the same time. there is something about the very plain design and open empty space that is very attractive in its simplicity. similarly, the sound is ample and yet restrained. there is a comfortable resonance with enough sustain and yet not too much tail which allows for a different type of playing. the surfaces are mainly wood which absorbs a lot of vibrations and makes the sound warm in spite of the plain hard surfaces of the space.

by the time i get to this place, my saxophone has accompanied me on the road and, once again, is in need of TLC. and yet, in spite of this, the place is always stirring and the focus it inspires allows me to overcome the technical difficulties. so, like last time i was here, even if the sax sounds a little raw, and the overtones are a little thin… i always like the outcome produced by such a gentle and stimulating environment. and after a deep and relaxing meditation, the second wave of recording is even more inspired and energetic:

.
.
.

converging inversions
alto saxophone, 30 august 2017
clachan church, applecross, scotland

.
.
.

a group of young deer
2.1 shakuhachi, 30 august 2017
clachan church, applecross, scotland

.
.
.

renewed horizon
alto saxophone, 30 august 2017
clachan church, applecross, scotland

.
.
.

infinite space
alto saxophone, 30 august 2017
clachan church, applecross, scotland

.
.
.

ragged coastline
alto saxophone, 30 august 2017
clachan church, applecross, scotland

.
.
.

Cathedral Cave

it is with great pleasure that i complete this series and my journey by a short stop in the lake district. it does feel like returning home, but there is another treat in line, and this is the absolutely staggering presence of cathedral cave. it’s pretty dark by the time i arrive, and it is definitely empty and quiet, although strange and distant noises inhabit the valley.

from the very first sound, the rich ambiance and impressive character of the reverb envelops me, and carry me in suspension. deep absorption.

expanding.

space.

.
.
.

prajna
alto saxophone, 02 september 2017
cathedral cave

.
.
.

this, is
alto saxophone, 02 september 2017
cathedral cave

.
.
.

the maze
alto saxophone, 02 september 2017
cathedral cave

.
.
.





sounding out scotland – smoo cave 2017

17 11 2017

 

 

This year’s visit of Scotland continues north. Along a tiny beat up single track road across land we join the round tour of Eribol and its majestic scenery. Soon enough arriving in Durness, the sky heavy and textured, i settle into the place sitting on top of the hill by the bunkhouse. My meditation is sprinkled with a few drops while waiting for the right time to set off. By the time I get to Smoo, it is raining heavily and the amount of water that has fallen this season is reflected in the flow of the cascade in the next chamber. I am surprised by the deafening roar of the waterfall coming through into the main part of the cave and concerned it will take most of the sound away. Still, Smoo cave never disappoints and its cathedral like reverberation shines through the sound of crashing water.

There is a very different vibe here than last time i visited. It is certainly more intense and while i am playing one of the long pieces, i can hear the water fall becoming more present and my playing reflects the chaotic flow. There is still that sweet spot when i stand with my feet right in the little brook in the middle of the cave, that inspires gentle sounds, but overall, this session is flowing stronger as i have to compete with the loudness of the water.

 

On the second day, i return at dusk for another recording and there are still a few visitors wandering in and out even though the light is rapidly dropping. I take a few videos that turned out to be mostly a play of shadows (these will come up in a different post). The dampness hanging in the air makes it more difficult for the saxophone, but i still enjoy playing this amazing space. Among the visits, a couple with an infant who seems to be very alert and interested by the music. As evening falls, the cave gets quieter and i play on for a while reminiscing of a day walking miles to a sandy bay and returning in heavy rain. That night was clear though, and camping on the very coast with the tent facing the great big north was quite something.

 

 

.
.
.

sitting on a hill
alto saxophone, 24 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

alternance 1
alto saxophone, 24 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

unyielding
alto saxophone, 24 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

turning point
alto saxophone, 24 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

as many atoms cascading
alto saxophone, 24 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

plato’s play of shadows
alto saxophone, 24 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

eddies and rocks
alto saxophone, 25 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

short turnover
alto saxophone, 25 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

as many stars spinning
alto saxophone, 25 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.

rain dramatic
alto saxophone, 25 august 2017
smoo cave, scotland

.
.
.





sounding out scotland – north west coast 2017

19 10 2017

 

 

A visit to Scotland was long due. And this is my favourite area. The trip took us from north west coast sea lines through wild moors and lochs to the very northern point. This post however will focus on a specific section of the western coastline, following the path of the steam train – the jacobites.

The first stop was in Arisaig. A large church towering above the town with a view – tucked between green suburbs and a road out to the sea front.
The very high ceiling and wide open space inside the church made a strong impression and it was like stepping out into space. The slow sound inside was indeed very stilling. A single bell marks a warm welcome and the improvisation flows.
When giving tracks titles, one in particular reminded me of an experience i had nearby meditating on the rocks overlooking the sea. so i chose an image i took that day of a view over to Skye with the sun setting over the calm water.

In the harbour town of Mallaig, i found a shelter from the day for a short exploration of this small church on the edge of town. It was like stepping into the 70’s. Both amusing and welcoming, i felt at home in the cosy carpeted warmth. And nudged into motion by the nearby steam train parked at the station and some building works, i let the saxophone sound out this clear close space.

The next stop was the church at Morar. The place looked cosy, but the vibe of the place was not quite right and the space was not responding. I played for a while but could not get into it, and the sax felt raw. So i did not stay for meditation and instead moved on to a more welcoming location.

For contrast, i returned to Arisaig and bathed in that grand space. After a sweet meditation, i revisited the acoustics. A different day, a different light and still the wonderful immersive stillness was very inspiring.

.
.
.

first bell
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

forest of peaks
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

silent silver sea
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

open skies
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

a gentle descent
alto saxophone, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

interlude
2.1 hochiku shakuhachi, 22 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

steamline
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
mallaig church

.
.
.

white orbs and billows
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
mallaig church

.
.
.

contrary measures
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
morar church

.
.
.

counter currents
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
morar church

.
.
.

slow rise
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

a raft in the other shore
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.

mixed feelings
alto saxophone, 23 august 2017
arisaig church

.
.
.





dovecote tunnel [ged barry and hervé perez]

2 10 2017

titled point line and surface, those three videos explore the architecture and resonance of Dovecote tunnel in a very impressionistic way. Using extended techniques and an architectural approach to harmony, the physics of sound waves inside a resonant chamber, the duo retains a great sense of melodic development while exploring structures at times abstract, and harmonic.

following on our exploration of a wet and drippy thor’s cave, we continued down the valley onto another of my favourite spots. i must say playing music in a tunnel is a bit weird, but this place has got the most amazing resonance. with a very strong character and pronounced resonant frequency, this tunnel will bend notes and blend overtones in the most surprising way.

expect beatings, saturating space and long tones…

 

this recording is the document of their very first encounter as a duo with the special acoustics of the tunnel.
01 august 2017

ged barry – tenor saxophone
hervé perez – alto saxophone

.
.
.



.
.
.

full audio