I wanted to make a piece consisting of material which would immediately draw the attention of the listener in to the sound world which I was creating. It is for this reason that the piece is deliberately uncluttered. There is not much counterpoint, or layering of material and the piece is deliberately “up front” with little middle or background, conceived as the development of a single line. Also, throughout the piece, there are sections where gestures are separated by periods of silence or limited sonic activity, which allow the listener to take stock of what has already happened and to anticipate what might be about to happen.
Shortstuff is made almost entirely from very short sounds amassed over twelve months. Some of these were like this in their original state, but most were created by selecting tiny sections of much longer sounds. After long periods of improvising with this material, I would take small sections of recordings of these first improvisations and re-improvise with that material which would yield new sound groupings as well as new sound objects.
The nature of the material being used determines the character of the piece as very “staccato”, but drones and longer sounds appear through extremely fast repetitions of short sounds.
Shortstuff was realised in the Electroacoustic Music Studio at Northern College, Aberdeen in 1993.
It was selected by the International Jury of the ISCM for performance at the World Music Days in Germany in 1995 and was awarded Special Prize in the Music Nova ‘94 Electroacoustic Music Competition in the Czech Republic and was released on CD in 2000 (MPS CD 013).
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