I performed a semi-improvised sound/song collage at the Culture Lab in-progress show, to test out some ideas that I’ve started working with lately. Overall I think there are elements that I want to take forward and expand on and some bits that were less successful.


After sending questions to Debbie Armour to interview her child, Romy, I recieved a lovely recording of the Q + A and have been really excited to work with the audio. For this collage performance I chose to use a couple of parts:

“I’d miss.. I’d miss.. seeing.. seeing..”:

A part of the interview that grabbed me immediately was when she was thinking of an answer to the question “What would you miss most about earth if we had to move to another planet?”. I immediately put music to the natural rhythm and pacing of her voice in this fragment so was keen to work this in, especially since it illustrates the process of thinking and can be taken to have a double meaning of missing the act of seeing (when taken as a fragment).
I think this works really well as the basis of a song, it’s really immediate and hypnotic when incorporated within the beats and I played around with making it glitchy and adding 2-voice chorus effect onto it (on the MPC).

Longer clips (x2) as transition/endings:

I also included two unedited clips in which she explaines concepts more broadly. I think these work nicely as transitions between songs with a minimal drone, beat, or sound underneath to lift it. Her voice is very evocative and as a short interlude track on the EP I think this could work.


As I’ve said above, the samples of Romy’s voice really carry the arrangement of the first song. It was put together in the MCP before the performance using preexisting kicks, claps and other percussive samples and transitions through 9 different drum patterns, building up layers of these on top of the voice samples before cutting them back down again to a glitchy, altered version of the samples which is what remains at the end. Though basic at this stage, I think the beginning works really well and is immediate and effective, it goes straight into the song without any messing about. The end is nice too, I like how the glitches materialise as the layers are cut back. The beats aren’t especially complicated but they keep a nice driving pace to the song and are a good start.

I also added some live looped vocals, firstly a drone on two notes with an additional pitch shifted bass note. I think this works well to establish a key and as an introduction of the second voice (mine). I pick up on the pitch of the word “seeing” in Romy’s sample, which I think is an interesting way of keeping in touch with the base sample.

Then with a pitch shifted (octave up) I made smatterings of notes with reverse reverb on (and looped this). This takes a while to get interesting on the live recording but I think the addition of the higher frequencies is important for the song’s balance, and throws it off kilter a little because it’s very mechanical before this is introduced.

The final loop is made by singing along to the “I’d miss, I’d miss, seeing, seeing” slightly pitching the words along the same lines as the original voice. I preset that channel on the looper to reverse automatically when I looped it, which worked really nicely against the continued singing of “I’d miss, I’d miss, seeing, seeing”. I kept this one in until the very end which bled into the transition into the next song.

I also did some improvised vocals between building the first two loops and beginning to cut the layers down for the outro, which I think was the weakest part of this first song. I’m fairly comfortable improvising vocals but I think this was too comfortable and a bit lazy, the melody wasn’t very interesting and I’m not sure it added anything to it. For a recorded version of this song I’d perhaps consider going without the improvised vocal melody altogether or consider ways of making it add something, because it just crowds this particular arrangement at the moment I think.


The transition into the second song starts with the leftover reversed loop of “I’d miss, I’d miss, seeing, seeing” with the clean voice of Romy talking about the kind of planet she can imagine us all moving to. The way this cuts out to leave the voice on it’s own is really satisfying it draws attention to the words and the silence really lifts the sample. I’d like to have the voice alone a little longer before bringing in the beat for the next song, or perhaps not introduce the beat until she’s finished speaking at all.

I find the combination of minimal sound and voice really effective, and definitely want to play with this in the finished work.


The second song is less successful, but there are still elements that I’m definitely keen to reuse and develop. It’s much more like the music I make as Me Lost Me but seems very unfinished in this state.

Arrangement-wise the beat and drone are very similar to previous songs and I’d like to work more into creating something more interesting, it’s fine, but it’s boring imo.

I’d be really keen to reuse the lyrics of the poem I wrote – but perhaps with a different melody. Again, I think there were elements that were good but melodically it wasn’t anything special and it didn’t necessarily work sandwiched within the context of Romy’s samples or in the arrangement. It might make for a nice fragment of a-capella singing in the EP, if I can work a melody that stands up against minimal or no backing.


These birds they have the lay of the land
And lover I have none
How long after they lay me down
Will my body all be gone, be gone,
My body all be gone

And when the soil does touch your breast
Like I have touched your breast
Will It burn or will it rest
With roots all tangled b’tween, b’tween
With roots all tangled ‘tween

One hundred years from now or more
This dying earth will shudder
The chicks will shoot out from their nests
To fly among their mothers, mothers
To fly among their mothers

One hundred years from now or more
This dying earth will shudder
The chicks will shoot out from their nests
To mourn among their mothers, mothers
To mourn among their mothers

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