The video above is the piece of music I wrote for Thornham, North Norfolk, as part of my ongoing field recording based music project.
After completing the field recording and pulling together the original audio and video field recordings into a video (you can see this at the bottom of this post), i set about writing the music. The thing that struck me when field recording and when watching/listening back was a feeling of Thornham as a place of decline and dilapidation, as if the present was a narrow glimpse of a place that may once have had more energy, reinforced by the small collection of boats tied against slowly rotting moorings.
The writing process started with me hamfistedly banging out some sombre chords on a piano in logic. However, i wanted a texture to the sound that evoked the resolute, creaky, woodenness of the moorings, so using the piano chords as a starting point and created multiple cello lines (for me the cello sounds beautifully wooden), that followed roughly the harmonic progression of the chords, but then also branched off into organic tangents, like channels through the salt marshes. I then muted the original piano parts, apart from those at the near end of the song where i felt i wanted the insistent rhythm.
Having written the main core of the song i wanted to experiment with sound design elements to wrap the music within a more natural context. So i manipulated some of the field recording samples, and also created samples of the cello music itself. Firstly, detuning this to create the droning sounds you hear within the first few seconds. Secondly i fed the processed samples of the cello audio into a granular sampler, I 'played' these into logic, and then again created new samples from this granular sampler playing and then further manipulated them through de-tuning or delays.
What i ended up through this experimentation was, for me, a feeling of the piece of music almost being a struggling journey toward revealing the music that was at its core, i don't know, maybe i was subconsciously influenced by the thought of these boats and ones like them, long ago wending their way through the small tributaries to the sea and back. Listening back i feel like the moment the tactile, rough, woodenness of the core musical idea is finally revealed after several minutes of hint and shimmery obfuscation, is a sense of relief, maybe thats the relief of making it back to dry land, or the relief of finally meeting the sea, i'm not sure.
Below is the original field recording video and audio so you can see (or maybe not :) ) how the original influenced the final piece of music.