Water Music

by Andrew Kingston

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Downloads are PWYW, and come with sheet music and album liner PDF.

Each of these four tracks takes a different field recording of water as its basis.

The pairing of “Narcissus” and “‘Narcissus!’” uses a variation on a technique called reinjection looping, which is done by playing a recording into a room to pick up its resonant influence on the sound, then re-recording it and repeating this process. This produces what one of the pioneers of the technique, Éliane Radigue, called “electronic erosion”. “Narcissus” uses a recording of flowing water that I made at Sweetwater Creek State Park, outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Ultimately, sonic “erosion” decays the original recording into an ambient sound that gets developed in the second half of the piece. “‘Narcissus!’” works in the opposite direction. By first creating a reinjection loop of a reversed recording of snow melting and dripping into a Toronto sewer, and then re-reversing the result, this track begins with the already decayed ambient sound. Gradually, the sound loses its resonant distortions, eventually ending with the original recording of meltwater. Because of the percussive aspects of the dripping water, I decided to make this last piece more percussion-based, drawing its initial rhythms from the original recording before simplifying them into a beat. The two titles—“Narcissus” and “‘Narcissus!’”—are a reference to the mythical figure of Echo, in Ovid.

“Lac” and “Sdreams” are in a way also paired, by the use of spectral techniques. Each was created on the basis of a spectral analysis of their respective water recordings. “Lac” is a composition for solo viola (sheet music downloadable with album), which derives its harmony, melody, and rhythm entirely from an interpretation of the prominent overtone peaks in a recording that I made of water washing onto the northern shore of Lake Ontario. Finally, “Sdreams” is an amalgam of three different recordings of Georgia’s Sweetwater Creek that each increase in intensity. Alongside it are multiple layers of the 12 chromatic semitones of Western music, each specifically placed to emphasize corresponding overtone peaks in the sound of the water.

Despite the differences between these four tracks, their unifying motivation is to function as a critique of the traditional semiotics of musical representation, and in doing so to render the culturally reproduced barrier between musical and non-musical sound somewhat more liquid.


released June 28, 2017



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Andrew Kingston Atlanta, Georgia

Sound art / Musique Concrète

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