Dandelion – Application Portfolio

To support my application, I have compiled a selection of works that best demonstrate my practice. These include two compositions that combine soundscape recordings with musical elements, namely The Metalization of a Dream & The New Atlantis, and music for film devised in partnership with a local community group entitled The Cries of Peckham Rye. Further details on each work, along with audio extracts, are provided below.  

The Metalization of a Dream

The Metalization of a Dream is an open form sound-work responding to the dada and surrealist-inspired collages of Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005). A pioneer of pop art, Paolozzi’s practice drew inspiration from artists that utilise similar collage and cut-up techniques such as Charles Ives and William S. Burroughs. As such, these relationships are explored within this work through John Cage’s concept of the coexistence of dissimilars, where the notion of harmoniously blended elements is eschewed in favour of collage-like juxtapositions ‘that fuse in the ear of the listener’. Like Paolozzi’s collages, this work incorporates ‘found objects’ in this case John Taverner’s In Nomine and the writings of Gertrude Stein that are reimagined, juxtaposed and intertwined with composed and indeterminate materials alongside soundscape recordings to form an equivocal sound world.

This work was commissioned by Galvanize Ensemble and premiered by Galvanize Ensemble at Newcastle Lit & Phil in February 2019 with funds from The RVW Trust, Arts Council of England, and PRS Foundation. A three-minute excerpt of the work is provided below. A 20-minute video version for SOUND Aberdeen is provided below.

The New Atlantis

Commissioned by Handel House Museum, this work is a response to an extract from Francis Bacon’s celebrated utopian novel of the same name published in 1623 where he describes the Bensalem ‘sound houses’, which bears a startling resemblance to how we produce, realise and listen to music today. The work incorporates a sonic landscape with samples ranging from gibbon calls to bullfrogs captured by the composer at London Zoo and The Devil’s Hopyard State Park, Connecticut. This work was produced with thanks to ZSL London Zoo and iPark Artists Enclave, Connecticut.  

The Cries of Peckham Rye

Dulwich Folk Choir – still from the film ‘Public House’ © Sarah Turner

The Cries of Peckham Rye (2015) is a 12-minute acousmatic composition. This output was commissioned by artist and filmmaker Sarah Turner to feature in her film Public House with funds from the Arts Council of England and Film London. The composition was developed over six months with text written by the celebrated poet Jane Yeh and choral elements performed by Dulwich Folk Choir. Although commissioned for film, this output is a standalone electroacoustic composition written for quadraphonic sound. 

Public House tells the story of the Ivy House Pub in Peckham Rye. Slated to be sold to property developers in 2012, the local community triumphantly came together to save the pub from closure. Made in collaboration with the local community, the film features their voices, poems and performances, as well as key moments in the community takeover which led the Ivy House to become one of the UK’s first co-operatively owned pubs and the country’s first ‘asset of community value’ under the 2010 Localism Act.

The Cries of Peckham Rye is a reimagining of a vision recounted by the poet and artist William Blake, who as a child saw a tree on Peckham Rye ‘filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough with stars’. Although heard throughout the film, this output underpins an extended climactic sequence in which the Ivy House community takes to Peckham Rye park in an act that Turner describes as ‘a communal celebration of human creativity and resilience’.

In terms of originality and significance, this output engages with participatory arts practice, namely the development of artistic practice through collaboration with community groups. More broadly, this output contributes to various areas within practice-led research, such as electroacoustic choral music and electroacoustic music in film.

The film was selected for premiere at the 2015 British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival and was nominated for the prestigious BFI Grierson Award in 2016. In 2017 the film toured over 20 film festivals across the UK and exhibited at key contemporary art galleries, including FACT Liverpool and Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow. Elsewhere, the composition was twice broadcast as part of the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘A Vision on Peckham Rye’ presented by Levi Roots in 2016.