In Broken Images James Bentley

In Broken Images is the penultimate piece from the Cycle of Noise project. The work signifies a brief return to composing for the concert hall following an extensive period of working in live electronic improvisation (as one half of the duo Asbestos) and researching performance possibilities within clubland. The title comes from a poem of the same name by Robert Graves; the message of the poem had particular resonance with the confusion I was in over my musical direction from the works’ initial conception (in 2001-2) to its eventual composition (September-October 2004). The piece exploits particular aspects of the poem, such as repetition and perspective, these manifest in several forms: on a micro level — delayed textures and blurred repetitions, on a macro level — elements from previous works in the cycle are re-used: the gestural vocabulary of Bruit; the harmonicity and formal shaping of Short Wave Fantasy; and particularly, the image obliteration and turbulent motion of Double Exposure. Ambient recordings taken from a variety of places form the basis of the piece’s musical material. The work is in six movements: i-ambience, ii-fragments, iii-echo 1, iv-trace 1, v-echo 2, vi-trace 2.

In Broken Images was created in the composers’ home studio and was first performed by the composer during BEAST’s resounding weekend at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham (March 2005).

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: 2004
  • Duration of the submitted work: 17:22
  • Production: Home

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