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A Refrain

1. A Refrain.jpg

A collaboration with the choral composer Peter Relph and Aberdeen University. The work was part of the exhibition Seeing Sound Hearing Colour at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, within the programme of 'Sound; Scotland's Festival of New Music' 2013.

The Gray's School of Art building set in its stunning location on the banks of the River Dee, whilst being light and spacious, can be experienced as a rather 'cold' environment of hard steel and glass surfaces. When the building is populated, its harsh acoustic properties though softened somewhat, are still comprised of a bouncing human cacophony of echoes; the sounds of a body of people going about their daily human concerns, much like anywhere else.

A Refrain introduced into this environment an intertwining of natural sounds and the human voice. The sound built around a part of the outdoors brought within the building's walls; a sparse, fallen bough of Beech, a characteristic feature of the Gray's campus, at a point in its life cycle just prior to its becoming part of the Earth again. This chorus of sound stood as a moment of contemporary reverence for the world outside of the building's walls, that is not the creation of humans, but to which they nevertheless belong.

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