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Squirt& Altered Images

(full piece)


(alto saxophone and tape) - (1994)

(Griff Campbell - alto sax)

In 1994, I became very interested in the live action paintings of artists such as Jackson Pollock. What particularly fascinates me technically about their work is their method of spontaneous expression followed by modelling to produce the desired result. Henri Michaux, more widely known for his poetry, would create work in this way, squirting ink or paint onto a canvas and then smearing it to produce images.

I wanted to be able to do something similar using sound as the medium - to be able to project a sound into a landscape and then to model that sound to create new images. The most obvious example of this is seen in the first gesture of the piece where the saxophonist "squirts" a sound out into the space, which is immediately smeared. Throughout the piece various squirts and smears, in both the saxophone and tape parts, serve to articulate other material derived from this opening squirt/smear gesture.

Squirt was written for Doug Skinner and premiered by him in April 1995 at Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA. The tape part was realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at Northern College, Aberdeen.

(full piece)


(tape) - (1995)

The aesthetic images which occur in the mind of the listener during the performance of a piece of music and how they relate to the way the music is perceived are the concern of the composer. The placement of sound images in three dimensional space when performing electroacoustic music on tape over a number of loudspeakers and how this imaging relates to the way the music is perceived by the listener is the concern of the sound diffuser.

As a composer and performer of electroacoustic music on tape, I wanted to create a work in which I could investigate and explore these two aspects of "image".

There is an interplay between the real image and the altered image throughout the work. Sometimes a sound may be recognised and associated with one in the real world, but these images change over time, as does their associated "meaning". Similarly, the position of the sound image is constantly changing, sometimes slowly, at other times rapidly, and the breadth and depth of these changes are of course enhanced when the piece is performed over a multi-channel diffusion system.

Altered Images was realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studios at Northern College, Aberdeen and at the University of Birmingham in August 1995. It was premiered in Montréal (EuCuE) in January 1996. It won 2nd prize at CIMESP '97, the International Sao Paulo Electroacoustic Music Competition.

Pete Stollery (born Halifax, UK 1960) studied composition with Jonty Harrison. He now composes almost exclusively in the electroacoustic medium, particularly music where there exists an interplay between the original "meaning" of sounds and sounds existing purely as sound, divorced from their physical origins. In his music, this is achieved by the juxtaposition of real (familiar) and unreal (unfamiliar) sounds to create surreal landscapes.

He has collaborated with a number of practitioners from all areas of the arts, most notably Aberdeen-based choreographer Andy Howitt, with whom, along with sculptor Anne Bevan, he recently collaborated to produce the theatre piece SUNNIFA to great acclaim at the St Magnus Festival in Orkney.

He is currently Lecturer in Music and Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studio at Northern College, Aberdeen where he is able to guide school children, student teachers and existing teachers in the creative use of technology in music education. He is also Artistic Director of discoveries a series of concerts in Aberdeen which aims to bring together electroacoustic works by school children and students to be performed alongside works by established composers from around the world.

He is chair of Sonic Arts Network, the national organisation promoting electroacoustic music in the UK, of which he has been a director for the past nine years; he edits the Journal of Electroacoustic Music published annually by SAN. In 1996, along with Alistair MacDonald, Robert Dow and Simon Atkinson, he established the group invisiblEARts whose aim is to perform acousmatic music throughout Scotland and to promote Scottish acousmatic music to a wider audience, both in Scotland and abroad.

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