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My Beautiful Toastrack

My Beautiful Toastrack (excerpt, 5:27), for tape

"My Beautiful Toastrack" was composed in the electroacoustic studio at the University of Wales, Bangor, during the spring of 1999. The piece falls into four main sections, each having its own character, but remaining connected in both sonic and structural terms. These four sections, and indeed the entire piece, are opened and closed by short, percussive sounds which are in fact minute sections of the longer sounds. The idea of punctuating long sounds with short ones pervades the piece, as these percussive 'blips' interact with the longer sounds. The third section develops the 'blips' themselves. A conflict arises as the 'blips' start to bring in progressively longer sounds which begin to flower, only to be cut off again. Eventually, however, the longer sounds overcome the percussive ones and come into their own in the fourth and last section of the piece. Here, they take the form of pitched drones, but evolve constantly both within themselves, as the different frequencies with each drone rise and fall in volume, and within the section as the fundamental pitches of the drones change, moving through both clashing and harmonious moments as they do so. As the title implies, the piece takes all of its source material from a standard stainless steel toastrack, the modest appearance of which conceals a wealth of sonic possibilities. Never underestimate a toastrack.

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