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Ryoko Akama - Architectural Model Making

The score, being very particular, is descriptive yet does not prescribe any rules. It was hard to find a dialogue with it. It took many attempts, relocations and different ways of thinking before the final composition sounded cohesive.

My first experimentation was produced in Hainburg, Austria, where I was working as composer-in-residence, using a Max Brand synthesiser. The Donau river, which runs through the town, is a dominant presence that inspired me to look for an 'architecture-sound affiliation' in the context of Sarah's score. I experimented with making field recordings around the town and the river, then, back in the studio, I produced some sounds with the Max Brand. They were layered over each other in an attempt to create a sense of the score as situated in Hainburg, the river and the town.

Returning to the UK, I began to analyse Sarah’s score semiotically. Each block, seen as a molecule, consists of smaller atoms which are configurations of protons, neutrons and electrons. Bearing in mind that electrons produce electronics, I worked with electronic devices and amplified objects to metaphorically create the visualisation of electrons shown as blocks on the score.

However, in both these attempts, the compositions felt incomplete.

Then the image of a piano came to mind. I envisaged each atom representing a note. Molecules (blocks) have a density of atoms dependant on how many blocks there are on each horizontal line. The first horizontal line has four blocks, so each block contains four atoms. The second has eight blocks, so each block contains eight atoms, and so on. For the constant sound, I decided to create an organic texture that could represent sand, rain or similar sorts of grains, which would lie under the main construction (blocks) and be representative of the ethereal environment. This constant but sporadic noise, produced by a DIY device, consists of subtle patterns important for enriching the sound of the 'piano atoms'.

Ryoko Akama, January 2014

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