This is a live studio version of a solo performance work created for the Bristol Hum Festival of Experimental and Improvised Music 2017. It draws on my ongoing Site Singing project, where I visit lesser-known heritage sites in the South West, taking a field recorder and a sketchbook, and create vocal sound works and drawings and field recordings. This is documented on my project blog, and the Site Singing bandcamp page:
This release coincides with its exclusive airplay as part of the Electrowomen programme on Resonance Extra on the 16th of April 2018, created by Nicola Serra of the Dronica Festival.
Recorded and mastered by Tom Bush
About the piece:
Long barrows are burial mounds dating back around 5,000 years. They can be entered through a ‘portal’, and are chambered inside, with each chamber having been used to house bones, and the space around the barrow used for ceremony and ritual. These barrows still dot the landscape, and I have visited, and sung in, several as part of my Site Singing project.
Long Barrow is created entirley from voice, no synths or other instruments are used. The piece is made from layers of recordings; it combines my vocal sound works recorded within a neolithic long barrow at Stoney Littleton, combined with recordings made while improvising to those field recordings in recreated ‘barrow’ like spaces with fellow singers Chloé Turpin and Leila Gamaz in an experimental performance space (The Stage, Arnolfini, March 2017). I then crafted these recordings together pitch shifting, reversing and treating samples from the material, and integrating a recording of myself and Leila Gamaz singing to the durations of struck matches.
During my live solo performance, these layers are combined with my live vocals, loops and samples, creating swells of voices in the dark. The percussive and performative striking of matches is used to define durations of held notes, live voice harmonising with recorded voices, creating chance intervals and microtonal sound worlds, with every performance differing from the last.
I am planning to make live performance versions of some of the other sites I have visited since starting my Site Singing project in 2014, and will eventually have a of experimental ‘song-cycle’ to perform and release.