I was delighted with the performance and reception of Us Alone at Occupy the Pianos. Zoe Martlew played wonderfully, and along with Ben Smith was enormously helpful in putting the piece together on a tight schedule that was disrupted by my cancelled flight. Massive thanks are also due to St John's, Smith Square and Rolf Hind.
You can listen to a somewhat confabulated (part live, part sampled) recording below. It won't be going up publicly on my Soundcloud, however, due to the horrible noise at 1'20":
A few words on how the piece works:
Radulescu primarily used the Sound Icons to create static drones, laden with noise and magic. My style, however, is very reliant on harmonic motion, and I found it very difficult to create a long expanse using only a drone as accompaniment. As such, I decided to make use of a new way of playing the Icons that I had come across when running an installation with them at Somerset House for Filthy Lucre.
I took the nylon threads that you use to play the Icons and threaded them round several strings to create a chord. To stop the chords getting confused (the tiny threads are essentially indistinguishable), I used colour-coded electrical tape to keep track. This was then matched to the players' parts: all we had to do was follow the colours! However, the threads easily get tangled, so it was important not to have too many chords: I had to make do with 13 across the two Icons. I then layered these on top of each other to create a great variety of different harmonies.
I'm now scouting out further opportunities to perform the piece, so if you know somebody who wants eccentric Romanian-inspired experiments, do let me know. Alternatively, you can come round and play the Icons: they're currently nestling in my cellar, next to my bike and offcuts of paint.
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