Lost in the fog

20 03 2011

Lost in the fog

Three modes of participation for this piece:

  1. Hold
  2. Sustain the silence
  3. Abstraction

Start the piece by sounding your instrument (play no note) and slowly cycle through a sequence of sounds specific to your instrument, as a resonant object, so that your participation always reflects the modes listed above.

Mode 1, Holding the silence, means that your participation should remain as transparent as possible and the purpose of playing is to sustain the tension latent in hanging silences, to punctuate that silence. Participation is not to break the ‘silence’ but to highlight it.

Mode 2, To participate is to nurture, to support. Participation is precision of action. Without competing for exposure, sustain what you just heard, at the threshold between sound and silence, by continuing a particular gesture. Imitate, echo, answer, sustain.

Play as you breathe, move through the fog but do not make yourself visible.

In choosing Mode 3, abstraction, you feel that there is no real silence in the piece, or a new direction is required: decide to influence the playing towards a sparse, abstract soundscape by making single calls that get lost and disappear into the texture of the fog. Every player should listen out for lost calls and join in the textural shift.

Never allow the piece to fall silent for a long period (i.e. the silence of the piece has to be controlled and offer the right amount of tension / expectancy).

One should strive not to become isolated nor exposed. Do not allow the tension or suspense of the piece to fall apart by sustaining the light and fragile density of fog.

Players should be aware at all times of all individual events and of the overall soundscape. Before playing, one should consider the general sound. Choose one mode of interaction and stick with it for a while or until another mode is required.

Individual lines only exist as part of a unity of presence in the surface tension, the textured threshold of sound which is silence.


This piece was written for the Gated Community, a large improvising ensemble and project initiated by Mick Beck.

You can hear live recordings here. The piece was performed at the Lantern Theatre on 31 March 2006 (start time: 11’04”) and on 19 Jan 2012 (57’44”).




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