Recorded at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, March 10th, 2010.
As a composer, Simon Water’s work has shifted from studio-based acousmatic composition (in the 1980s) to a position which reflects his sense that music is primarily concerned with human action, and only secondarily with acoustic fact. Clearly-defined compositions have increasingly been replaced by performances which bring together particular sets of strategies, technologies, performers and environments. His research investigates the relationship between music and other activities, contiguities between performing and composing/improvising, ‘instrument building’, and the manner in which musical thought and practice operate in highly technologised contexts.
Simon has an international reputation as an electroacoustic composer, with awards and commissions in the UK and abroad. He has worked with many contemporary dance and physical theatre companies and visual artists including Ballet Rambert, Adventures in Motion Pictures and the Royal Opera House Garden Venture, and as the music director of pioneering multimedia theatre practitioners Moving Being. His works have been widely presented and broadcast in the UK, Europe and the USA.
This recording was made during a workshop session at the U.E.A, Norwich, in March 2010, where Simon is a Professor and Research Director. The workshop examined historic groove-based sound recording techniques and experimental work with disc-cutting lathes, lacquer and plastic blank media as well as wax cylinders.
Simon recorded his flute onto the wax cylinder, he then superimposed a second flute part on the same cylinder using a kind of proto-overdubbing technique. As the new spiral groove is being cut over the existing one, the stylus plays back the first groove through the phonograph horn, even while it is inscribing a new one, thus enabling Simon to play and record a duet while monitoring his previous recording. The closeness of the two flute parts has resulted in intermodulation, a phenomenon commonly found in electronically generated sound and radio transmissions, but here achieved purely through mechanical and acoustic means.