Matt Barnard

Compositions by Matt Barnard

From The Piano Makers, written by D. Wainwright:

The frame and strings
of a fully strung grand piano
must withstand the pressure
of about 20 tonnes

The Kemble piano factory in Milton Keynes was the last to exist in the UK until its recent relocation to Indonesia and Japan. Using binaural recordings made during a visit to the factory before its closure, The Piano Makers is a study of piano material and manufacture, and the idea of the tension and pressure that the instrument withstands.

With thanks to Peter Corney and all of the Kemble Pianos Ltd. employees at Milton Keynes for obliging my intrusion.

Billow

noun
a large undulating mass of something, typically cloud, smoke, or steam. (Archaic) a large sea wave.
_______________________

The Billows That Break explores the manifestations of energy in the sea and air around the Scarborough South Bay seafront and the sonic environments that accommodate them.

The manifestations are varied, real and imagined: the lapping of tide to the slapping of wave on seawall… the whistling wind to the blustering gale… the effervescence of eddies to the simmering phone conversation (?)

The Billows That Break was recorded binaurally.(Mild Language/Call Centre Animosity)

Recorded binaurally, this piece examines the sounds witnessed at various railway platforms in Yorkshire, where steam locomotives still operate. In addition to this, material that is associated with steam power, namely coal, was recorded and developed.

The transformed and imagined soundscapes are woven into a piece that investigates the scale and energy of the obsolete technology.

“Ruttmann’s film could scarcely be used to guide a stranger arriving in Berlin for the first time. It summarises far more the memories and residual moods of a traveller leaving that city. If nevertheless the film contains a characterisation of the city, it is not in the shots themselves, but through their montage and rhythm.”

OR

“Barnard’s piece could scarcely be used to guide a stranger arriving in London for the first time. It summarises far more the memories and residual moods of a traveller leaving that city. If nevertheless the piece contains a characterisation of the city, it is not in the sounds themselves, but through their montage and rhythm.”

Using material recorded binaurally over a week long visit to London, Woche… aims, with reference to both Walter Ruttmann’s ‘Wochenende’ (1930), Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt’ (1927) and Timothy Brock’s 1995 soundtrack for ‘Berlin:…’, to communicate on some level the pace and rhythm of the city, and the fleeting experiences of a visitor.

Greenwich I
Musical Chairs
City Symphony
Slides
A Soundwalk I
Too Many People I
Brock and the Escalator
Greenwich II
Toilet Break
A Ruttmann
A Soundwalk II
Too many People II

Comprising of reconstructed and transformed soundscape material, derived entirely from journeys I have undertaken on the train and undergound networks of England, Closely Observed Trains is a comprehensive study of the sonic environments experienced.

In-ear binaural microphones were used to record all of the materials, providing a unique window on the sonority of public transport spaces and a peculiar perspective of the sonic environments. Aesthetically, the train is observed from various angles of interest; trajectory, mass, material, mechanics, rhythm and the wider, poetic and symbolising characteristics.

No Nazi munitions trains were sabotaged during the making of this piece.

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