Morija Birdscape with Luigi Russolo (2013)

for two-channel tape

Dedicated to Christine Lucia
Requested by Pierre-Henri Wicomb
Recording released on ‘Concert To: Electroacoustic Music from South Africa’ (PEER 001)
Duration: 12'16"

Programme note

Pierre-Henri Wicomb asked me to make a bird piece in 2010 when we were working at the Visby International Composers Centre on Gotland. In October 2011 I recorded birdsong while staying in the Lesotho mountain village of Morija, and edited the recordings down to about 12 minutes. Treating the digital technology (in this case ProTools) as a canvas on which I could paint a landscape, I added layers of transformed or reconstructed birdsong, to create a surrealist birdscape in which familiar birds converse with quite strange sounding ones. The centenary of Russolo's 'Futurist Manifesto' is simultaneously celebrated in further layers derived from manipulated historic recordings of his and his brother Antonio's music, transporting us back and forth in time to those heady days in 1913 when Russolo declared "bloody victory over 4,000 passe-ists in the Constanzi Theatre of Rome". I worked on the piece between 14 January and 13 February 2013 and presented it to my wife Christine Lucia as a Valentine's Day present.