Bruit James Bentley

Bruit is the second work in the Cycle of Noise project. The French title literally translates as noise, and is also an archaic English word meaning: to spread, or report, about (of rumour). This polarity (ambiguity?) of meaning is mirrored in the choice of sound material — categorized into noise (white noise, pink noise — noise that has an energy centre, and hiss), and ‘non-noise’ sound sources (metallic objects/radio, glass and plastics). Through electronic manipulation the two opposing sound-worlds are continually merging in and out of one another, the distinction between them becoming ever more ambiguous.

Bruit was composed in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham and was first performed by the composer during BEAST’s Murmurs… weekend at the Crescent Studio Theatre, Birmingham (December 1998). The work is available on the CD compilation SPIKE: works from BEAST Vol. 1 (Sargasso Records, 2000).

About the Cycle of Noise

The Cycle of Noise project is a series of works that explores the cultural phenomenon (through musical context), but primarily the sonic aspects of noise. By noise, I mean: distortion, feedback, glitch, white noise, hum, hiss and other derivatives usually associated with the ‘unwanted’ part of an audio signal. Central to each work is the discourse between noise and non-noise (real-world or concrète) sound-worlds through musical processes. As the cycle progresses, these processes become less rigorous, whilst noise accumulates over the course of the first half of the cycle before rapidly fading in the latter stages.

The cycle consists of six works (totalling around 80 minutes), which are divided into two sets of trilogies: the first three works form something of a ‘radio trilogy’, while the latter three have an environmental aspect to them (explored through location or space). The cycle is intended to form an evening concert, with an interval separating the trilogies.

James Bentley: Cycle of Noise (1995-2004)

1. Interference (1995-7/9) solo violin 7’
2. Bruit (1997/8) electroacoustic 10’
3. Short Wave Fantasy (1998/9) electroacoustic 17’ 06
4. Double Exposure (2001) electroacoustic 9’
5. In Broken Images (2004) electroacoustic 17’ 20
6. Trace Element (2003/4) electroacoustic installation 15-20’

  • Year of composition: 1997
  • Duration of the submitted work: 10:02
  • Production: University of Birmingham

Linked project

Also part of Spike - ‘Works from BEAST - vol.1’ (Sargasso Records - SCD 28034).

More works by James Bentley