Ten Placeprints

Journeys into haunted landscapes for voices and sound (page in progress)

2012 - 15

Some years back, I was invited to contribute to a nationwide multi-media project, featuring diverse locations of each contributor's choice.  Its working title was Re-enchantment, and its guiding principle was to awaken the visitor to some deeper dimension of each place. My earliest thought was to compose a soundscape for each of my chosen sites, to be digitally stored for use rather as the audio-guide we find at a museum of a castle. 
Each button would touch into hearing a distinct track of sounds and voices from a different aspect of that location's past:  an audio version of the fleeting 'place-print' some people see - the18th century maidservant passing through a modern wall, and the like.

The project didn't materialise, but I had begun my part of it, and I worked on alone.  Gradually ten distinct locations chose themselves, starting from the centre of England and tracing a roughly elliptical path sunwise out through Wessex, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Scotland... to return southward to the river on whose bank it had begun. I originally imagined them as a set of miniatures, my own 'late Brahms intermezzi', but they grew to symphonic scale. The audio-guide principle remained - strictly 'audio' therefore, rather than radio - but each piece uses the medium in its own technically distinct way.  They are: 

       1.   River, of Course    central Warwickshire    
       2.   Off the Motorway     east Warwickshire     
       3.   Grim's Ditch     Berkshire     
       4.   From the Stone Age    west Sussex     
       5.   Nemeton     west Cornwall     
       6.   These Clouded Hills    Cadair Idris     
       7.   To the Waters and the Wild   the Sperrin mountains     
       8.   Where There is No More Sea    Scotland's Solway shore     
       9.   Here We Stay    Eyam, Derbyshire    
     10.  Poison Cross     north Warwickshire

Their 'onlie begetter' was Gareth Evans, currently Film Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery;  and their cause has been taken up by Jack McNamara, Artistic Director of the New Perspectives touring theatre company, of Nottingham.  Through his good offices, the series has been recorded (with soundscaping by Adam McReady, and stellar performers, and with a hauinting film-dimension by Grant Gee.  ##1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 have also been given in prepared public performance.