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about AEOBBS (cont.):

As my intentions for this work became clearer to me through working with these materials, I decided, in places, to augment the recordings of 'A Tapestry' with those of other, related recordings, one by Lewis himself: 'Bird Sounds In Close-Up' (1969; Hallmark Records - HMA 246) plus 'Songs of British Birds No. 2' by Ludwig Koch (1958; HMV 7EG 8316). In addition to using some of the spoken sections by Lewis on 'A Tapestry' I have also taken small fragments of an interview with Koch and the brief utterences of Bea Harrison in her rare appearance in British film 'The Demi-Paradise' (1943). This approach also helped me decide the title of the piece: 'An Embroidery of British Bird Song'. However, I must emphasise it is 'A Tapestry' and Lewis's contribution that remain as the heart of this work, the text and visuals of the album providing inspiration in tandem with the sounds.

I chose the sections of 'A Tapestry' quickly, on the broad and fairly arbitrary basis that Band 4 of the disc represented 'day' (afternoon) recordings - and also included the Dartford Warbler (Dartford being the place of my birth) and Band 7 crossed over into 'night' (evening) and contained Night Jars, a bird I had witnessed with friends in the New Forest when I was in my twenties and doing lots of recordings with Southampton bands.

This decision gave me two collections of sounds:
'Day Group', featuring the Whinchat, the Dartford Warbler, the Linnet and the Human (Lewis, Koch, Harrison)
'Night Group' including the Nightingale, the Grasshopper Warbler, the Nightjar and the Tawny Owl.
As some of these feature only fleetingly it was at this point I decided to include a small amount of other, extra recordings.

In common with all PMusic pieces AEOBBS is an indeterminate, computer-based piece that is built from two aspects - a collection of 'sculpted' sound recordings or 'Sons' and a set of performance/processing rules called 'Nets'. A Net is perhaps comparible with a small section or movement within music—although due to the use of chance (via random number generation) it does not have a fixed identity. It is within the Nets that I have taken and deveoped the title and theme of the Egenis event: 'collider - exploring hybridity' in the integration (and collision) of avian, scratch and human sounds. This piece is not about birdsong, it is about the representation of birdsong.

In the installation at RAMM on November 7th 2012, the composition drew on the 'Day Group' of Sons and the Nets gave sporadic bursts of sound with occasional clustering. The intention was for the piece generally to play quite quietly, mingling with the environment with just the rare intrusion of calls, songs, repeats... just as birds sometime suddenly capture the attention.

My aim is to continue to develop this composition for performance elsewhere, particularly in relation to the particular time of day in which it is heard. If anyone would like to know more about this work or has suggestions for future venues and performances please email me. PR

Art in the dock, Science in the stocks: Collider - exploring hybridity - Public event organised by: Professor Steve Hughes, Co-director, Egenis Funded by the ESRC as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. Venue: RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter - 07 Nov 2012 12-5pm. An Embroidery of British Bird Song featured as a discreet, installed sound work during the workshops of this event.

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© 2015 Paul Ramsay