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Unearthing (1993) for two-channel fixed media


Unearthing represents, I suppose, my first attempt to think critically about the notion of multi-loudspeaker sound diffusion *beyond* the excellent training I’d been given by Denis Smalley, in that rather than simply making a fixed medium piece which was ‘optimised’ for diffusion, I attempted to make a piece which explicitly *required* it. For this reason the form of the piece is unusual in that much of the incident and event is packed into the first section of the piece, and these features recede relatively quickly, leaving a long ‘tail’. As the piece is 23 mins long this requires the person diffusing the piece to animate and develop dramaturgy for the ‘long tail’ in order that it doesn’t become tedious. The model for distribution of material is roughly that of the archetypal sound object, with an attack, decay, sustain and (gradual) release - the typical amplitude shape here reinterpreted to determine the density of material over the length of the piece.

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