A work for voice, bass recorder and spoken text,
plus silent video (optional)
duration: 10:30 minutes
Stage setting: video screen central, performer with bass recorder slightly to the right. Vocalist in the back of the performance space to the side of the audience.
First performed at Rolston Hall, Banff, by Rosie Middleton/mezzo soprano and Pia Palme/bass recorder, spoken text, and recorded in the same space by the amazing Banff Centre recording team.

Rosie Middleton sings following timed cues, sketched instructions, she uses the text as cue and inspiration, plus there were some verbal instructions, otherwise she performs in an improvising mode. I perform with my bass recorder and voice simultaneously, using techniques that I have developed over the last years (no electronic processing involved). The text of the piece was written during the first days of my residence at Banff. It manifested at once, as a personal reaction to being on the land, being in the landscape; that is, it happened with and for the environment. It is not a text about something; it is a text with and for the land. I felt the strong presence of the place embracing me and communicating with me, at the same time I experienced a sense of being welcomed on the land, being part of the place. I wanted to talk to the land and call it, giving my artistic skills over to the land. At the same I asked the land to work on me, to accompany me and to show future directions of work to me. The Banff Centre stands on First Nation territory, and the location has been used for centuries as meeting place by indigenous communities. The music was developed during my residency at Banff, first as a solo performance for myself; listening to Rosie’s voice, I asked her if she would perform with me. Thanks to Rosie Middleton for joining in, it was a pleasure to perform with her! I met her during the residence, what a delight to find such an accomplished singer to collaborate with here at Banff.

More about Rosie Middleton at Rosiemiddleton.com

The silent video came last in the process of making this piece. I met this stately old tree on a hike along the valley, near Bow River. The river landscape and the magnificent plant-being perfectly embody the inspiration I felt for the text. Filming the structure of the bark, with its crevasses and cracks, I explore how I can directly and physically communicate with the tree. Moving (with) my camera, how can I approach a tree? I want to reach beyond the surface of the visible and touch the other being. From the compositional perspective, how can I listen to/into the tree? How can I physically meet an ancient plant, a tree as huge as this? My body seems so small, my camera is just a tiny gadget, in comparison. In filming, I think like a choreographer: filming is dancing with a partner. For me, the tree is a living partner in an exchange, rather than an object. Therefore, the video is not even a ‘film’ in the artistic sense. Instead, it visually documents – or more precisely notates – my encounter with another living being. I have chosen a mix of small movements and long periods of stillness for my camera choreography. When I hold the camera still, the subtle rhythmic movements of my breathing become visible.

Thus, compositionally, the video forms a silent counterpoint to the vocal and instrumental parts. It also functions as a scenic element. With myself as speaking instrumentalist in front and the singer at the far end of the room, the video screen in the stage back completes a triangular spatial setup.

More Radically

She summons
Spirit voices
She summons
Spirit voices
She summons
Spirit voices

I summon you
Crawl into my ears
I may not speak your language
But I hear your noise
Beneath the surface of the visible
As I listen
And direct my ears
Underneath the skin of the land
Underneath my own skin
      Can you hear me, too?

I’m not a nati-[vvvvvv]-e of this land yet feel at home here.
      Do we have a choice?

Come here
Mistresses of the forest!
From the mountain tops
From the riverbeds 
From the depths of cold lakes
From the rocks
From the cracks and crevices
From the bogs and marshes and hot springs
From the trees and from the earth beneath their roots
From the bridges
From the roads
From the rotting carcasses of countless salmon
Fertilising abundant growth
From the clouds and the morning mist
From the trains and cars
From the souvenir shops, too
Come, sly deceivers of innocent tourists!

Do not corrupt our minds with cheap delusions, 
      listen to me and come here!

She summons you into her music
She summons you into her noise
She summons you into her mind
She summons you into her body

Come here
Come here
Come here

And join her
Ride her breath
In a frenzy of sound and noise
Dance in and out these openings
Dance on these keys
Dance with these fingers
Dance on her tongue
Dance in hidden formations inside this hollow pole
Dance in her mind
Dance in her heart
Dance in her voice

Settle down within this piece of wood
Be as wild as you want
Be as gentle as you want
Roam this playground of
Flesh Blood Pain Bones
Thoughts Passion Heat Longing

Take me with you
Spirits of noise
To celebrate 
      More radically
      From now on