29 January 2011



Two great friends recently got engaged. This was a shot from the engagement photos that I borrowed for the project. It was a blast taking their photos and, rather conveniently, it fit the theme. Call it sappy, but marriage (or engagement) makes me happy.

Andy brought me this photo taken of his recently-engaged friends and by chance I was at that moment contemplating the composer John Cage. Cage had explored this notion of trying to remove the composer's ego from the composition, and he'd used various tools like the Chinese I-Ching to do it. Obviously he also once rather famously used silence itself in his work 4'33". The idea, it seems, is that a composition isn't really a subjective entity resulting from a series of decisions by its creator, but rather that it exists in some pure, spiritual, almost ethereal sense and that it's the composer's job to reach into that ether and capture it. The more the composer's ego interferes, the less pure the result will be, and hence the implementation of 'universe-controlled' random chance. It's all very intriguing, and an area which I've more or less never explored in my years of composing, and so, staring at those interlocked hands with the nice engagement ring, now seems like the time! I brought my wife into the studio, played around with a few pitches and musical ideas, then showed her Andy's photo. She was then told to sing how it made her feel (The sort of 'amateur musician' quality from this sort of unrehearsed and unprepared setting is another parallel fascination of mine, principally inspired by Bartòk). What results is exactly what you hear, and I didn't change it a bit (including the hilarious and adorable hiccup-like sound at the end) ...

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