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Creative Pact 2016: Day 1

I’m feeling a bit confused about this year’s Creative Pact. I always love doing CP. And I have a piece I need to have ready to perform for late September, but I’m also coming off a significant patch of brain-melt and while possibly CP will help with getting my brain back on track and ready to start doctoral study in October, there’s also a fair chance that it could hinder recovery as the brain-melt means I have trouble focusing on any thought-driven activity (as opposed to simply ‘doing things’ – hence the large number of sewing posts on this blog recently).

So this Pact’s posts may be following two streams – one being (I hope) the development of the piece, and the other possibly exploring how the activity is affecting my current mental health issues which I hope may prove useful in dealing with future episodes (it’s a recurring stress-related problem)

I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while to write a piece for cello and electronics. But, unusually for me, this piece has no other basis except to write a piece for cello and electronics. This has been making it hard for me to start work – usually I have a concept, whether that’s an artwork in mind, or a subject to explore, but it’s been a long time now since I wrote a piece simply because I wanted to write for particular forces, and it’s been even longer since I did this and ended up with a piece that I was actually pleased with at the end of the process.

So it’s hard to know where to start, and all the more considering the mental paralysis I’ve been dealing with. But in the past few days, I’ve been really enjoying Lauren Redhead’s Creative Pact CD reviews and trying to listen to at least a bit of each album she’s reviewing where there are bits online to try to think about the sorts of sounds I’m liking at the moment.

Today I caught up on her days 3 and 4 reviews and while David Gorton’s Orfordness did nothing for me, I was really drawn to the tiny sounds in the sample from Ryoko Akama’s senu hima album. This has cemented a vague thought that maybe I’ll start with tiny/quiet sounds for this piece, maybe working with very subtle material in the cello and exploring ways that that might trigger more aggressive or involved sounds from the Max/MSP patches.

There are a few practical things I need to sort out for this piece too: 1. a performer. I’ve contacted a cellist today, so just waiting to see if they can do the gig, but I’ve got another couple of names on my list too. I need to get this sorted quickly because obviously if none of them can do it, I’ll need to change tack and write for something else; and 2. Find out a bit about how to mic up a cello to get that sound into the computer for Max/MSP to hear (got a friend lined up to help me with this). I’m sure there’ll be more logistics to sort out but these are the starting points.

[Photo is today’s photo for Project365 and features blueberries grown in my garden]

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