Robert McFall on Amble

'It's like making music in a tree house' Rick said. Heriot Toun Studio looks out over the farmhouse which owns it, trees all around and below us waving in the wind, low clouds scudding.

I'm writing this during a technical hiatus mid-afternoon. We're in the middle of recording Uainh na h'Ard-Eaglaise - trying to make the various loops sync up. The technical hiatus is all about devising a better system for triggering the recordings of loops of music which should fit together like Lego, bug haven't yet. The title of the piece in Gaelic is to do with a 'cathedral cave' in which sounds (inspired by Gaelic psalm-singing) ricochet around the walls.

The morning's work was on another of Amble's pieces, Sea Longing, an atmospheric piece in which the viola player automatically triggers various samples simply by virtue of playing certain written notes as notated. The various samples (including one which is a recording of a catherine wheel!) dramatise the slow melting melody, building something like (at times) industrial noise into the seascape, suggesting harsh realities, rather than soft pastoral. There's probably a pretty respectable recording of this winging its way around Alex's computer.

Personnel here are: Amble Skuse (composer), Martin Parker (Programmer), Alex Fiennes (sound engineer), me - Robert McFall (on electric violin), Brian Schiele (on electric viola), Su-a Lee (on electric cello) and Rick Standley (on bass guitars and double bass), - not forgetting Jo Buckley, our general manager, on documentation, organisation and soup.


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