Louise Rossiter on Louise

A crisp, dry day started off with a reasonable length of bus journey from Edinburgh to Peebles. I didn’t care however, as the scenery on the way down more than made up for the journey! Beautiful rolling hills, countryside and sheep- what more could anyone ask for?

Anyway, today was a new experience for me in many aspects- for one, I hadn’t worked with a string group since second year as an undergraduate and also, as an electroacoustic composer, I’m usually working on acousmatic music- or pieces for tape alone. Add to this that I would be integrating live electronics, and I knew today would be challenging, but fun!

I had written the piece using the same composition process I use when composing acousmatic music and as such one of the goals I was trying to achieve was a piece where the instruments and electronics knit together, rather than them being two separate entities. An initial run through of different sections went relatively smoothly, a few challenges rhythm wise in the opening section and some other technical details, but these where quickly resolved with the group.

I think the beauty of working in a situation like this is the need to work and learn ‘on the fly’. Myself and Pippa worked a lot on the live electronics part. I was utilising plugins that I use almost daily in a studio situation, and had to learn how to use the same tools under different circumstances. I quickly learnt that this involves a different approach to working. At first I was a bit shy on the processing, but as the day progressed, I was able to judge the amount of processing required a lot better. Using a Midi controller and assigning parameters in Logic made it far easier to control the live elements. By the end of the day, I was able to create some really good sound effects on the instruments.

I’m delighted with the final result. I will however take a look at how much of a role the fixed sound part should play- obviously some bits worked better than others. I learnt that actually, a lot is possible with live processing. Working with such an amazing group of players, Pippa, and Ben was a fantastic experience, and has certainly given me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone slightly to do something like this again.

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