ABZ/A Pete Stollery

ABZ/A consists of a number of scenes using sounds from in and around Aberdeen which kind of call up what Aberdeen means to me as someone who lives there, but which will also will mean something to everyone who listens to it; here are some fairly untreated sounds which are instantly recognisable to everyone (airport, cars on cobbled streets, shopping centre). There is text but not that needs to be understood.

There is no story line — it’s more a collection of scenes glued together by opening/closing gestures derived from the sounds themselves. These scenes get longer and longer with the last one lasting for over half the piece. It is best listened to over headphones to really get into the piece and to listen to the minute and subtle transformations of sounds. These sounds are sometimes real/familiar (beach, cars) and sometimes unreal/unfamiliar (opening sound, big drone at climax). Most of the time I am playing around with the images created by the juxtapositions of these sound types. Is the accordionist playing in a shopping centre, on a street, by the sea, or in an unfamiliar space? All of these — and sometimes at the same time! This is what I find interesting about composing in this medium — I like to take the listener on a journey where everything around them is constantly changing from familiar to unfamiliar.

ABZ/A is part of a larger collaboration called …silhouettes/resonances… by four sound artists based in Scotland. Each piece is concerned with a composer’s response to a sense of place. The four places (the other three: Glasgow — Alistair MacDonald, Inverurie — Gregg Wagstaff, the Island of Harris — Robert Dow) were chosen from across the varied landscape of Scotland and they reflect both the differences in landscape and the differences between the composers. The work was commissioned by the BBC for Radio Scotland’s Week of Sound in March 1998 and was released on CD in 2000 (MPS CD 013).

  • Year of composition: 1998
  • Duration of the submitted work: 5:07

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