How we become Radical Sound Artists


During Lockdown and remote working, Sonia and my barriers clashed quite loudly and then they clattered to the floor. We both peered up at each other as if to poise “Oh dear, what now?” And then we giggled. And giggled some more. 


Sonia responded to the podcast as a whole and encompassed the energy of the world during lockdown and the brief into one song. It felt poignant that it was placed at the end of the podcast with a rush of sea that continuously over and over again lapped up on the sand. I learned how tremendously powerful placement of songs were in a podcast even when attending to it in an abstract way. 


Together, we rooted through the nest of Sonia and Elinor’s Collection of Trinkets and Gathered Sounds, with one based in Scotland and one in London.


Sonia found birdsong from a bird she’d found or it had found her, loud, singing its heart out, whilst abroad. We added it to the forest where I’d discovered Carien was. Beside me and all around us was birdsong in a forest that opened up into a wide field lacking trees. If you can imagine a computer game or Virtual Reality - it’s not like I am “Carien” or any other member of Drake Music and it’s not like I can even see them but I am there almost as if a witness and I am knowing that we are only here because we have been guided by Carien’s psyche. Sonia is there with me also observing. 


Together we discovered Tom who existed in a song. In a room with posters and music, there were guitars and loops and Sonia and I existed in the cracks of the wall feeling our way through Tom’s sense of humour and impatience and we mirrored his humour drifting in and out with the sound of the tide over Sonia’s voice towards the end. You see, Sonia and I were very adamant we wanted to create an abstract podcast, one where listeners could go to the places they’d guided us to even if they weren’t aware that they had. We wanted to exist but only as musicians revealing each moment as sound. 



People have a lot of power in what they bring to a room when we are generously offered the opportunity to translate their offering into music and then turn them in our own languages. It’s why I’ve always asked for other people to send in their voices speaking my poems or streams of consciousness because they exist in the worlds I am taken to and I get to journey to vast more plains and territories because of them. 


Without them, Sonia and I would have nothing new to discover. Their reveals were like a gentle unfurling, rhythmic and so imagist. I’d heard sea splaahing against a stone wall and fisherman talking loudly as Myriam had described her hometown; so Sonia sent the sea and I layered my own found track of the sea so that both tracks breathed against the other noisily, calmly, gently, so we could encounter Myriam’s story. 


The wind was real wind from Trefil, the highest village in Wales with ponies galloping in the snow, and that became Louis as he guided us around the landscape with each decision he made in the choice of words as wind changes form around every element of the environment. 

Each member of Drake Music brought us to spaces that were arresting like Joy, who I felt I could see behind the glass in a rain drenched street - but I was not getting wet though I felt or saw the dripping rain down my skin. 


We noticed the nature, the weather, 

So much water. So much landscape. 

So much power in our collaboration despite our isolation and remoteness. Our barriers had already clashed so vibrantly and loudly that it was in our promise to each other that we remain together whilst being guided by each member of the team. 


This gave us the permission to make on our own terms. 


Sonia’s voice became the sky, it still echoes to me sometimes. 


The podcast conjures up the memory of being with the Drake Music staff team on our first and only day we had together in our artist residency before the Lockdown. The DM team’s sharing and our togetherness is rendered in the aliveness of how music feels when we experience it and enjoy it. 


Attention to this was powerful in a space held and hosted by Gareth so that Sonia and I could see how the podcast affected audiences. This offered up vital information we needed towards the text description of the podcast. I needed to see reactions in people’s faces about how the podcast made them feel. Still different to a script and to a simple description of songs, text can word paint, songs can be heard and felt in textured language on paper or digitally on screen. 

Making this podcast made me realise there is power in exploring the creative process of journeying in sound and it is through paying attention to the radical nuances of how we relate to each other that we become radical musicians and sound artists.


Drake Music 2

We rehearsed with eyes 

I liked using ableton because it was visual 

I could see all the notes 

I could see the length in lines 

in Kit kat bars 

I could stretch them, condense them with my eyes because I could tell Ben where and when 

to go how far to 

and fro 

and from, and where 

Go

Stop

Start

Yes. 

Ben looked zonked

I was very hot. 

My laptop is burning 

My eyes are burning

The Neuro Oncology says it’s not my ears because he’d be able to see it in my eyes

And my eyes didn’t tell him they were ears

I look at my paintings again 

for some sort of clue. 

Maybe they’re eyes. 

He tells me it’s not my heart, but it will be my brain - he tells me, he thinks I should have a scan whilst there’s absolutely minimal chance they can’t open the corridors up for 2 more months 


so I shall wait. 


I shall wait until they send me for a brain scan. 


For ages (can I say this?) I’ve been wanting one because I had wanted to do a PHD with scientists - neuroscientists who would take pictures of me in sensory overwhelm when I’m creating because  I wanted to compare those colours on brain scans with the colours in my paintings 


I wonder if I could ask them 

for not a boring blue blue white NHS brain scan but a colourful one the neuroscientists do. 

Oh I’m being silly now

Half silly excited half nervous too. 

Now hot. 

With a flat piano tune that I like because it is jarring 

because it stirs up so much imagery 

about as if i were an owl. 

I think of Noddy and the forest. 

that creeped me out. 

and 

I think \  of.   Enid Blyton. And Bag Puss. CREEPED me the ……    out he did. And the shoe people. 


But I like creepy music. 


So in bed I will nap before writing some more. 

Some more reflections. 

I work better when it’s colder or cooler. 

I’ll add some videos here when I have edited them tomorrow. (Not the ones below - those are for your enjoyment of what scared me…… ;) ) 




Royal Society of Arts

FELLOW EVENTRSA ARTISTSNETWORK: FILM NIGHTHYMNS TO WOMEN

Thursday 2nd July 2020 at 18:30 - 19:30

Online via Zoom


https://www.thersa.org/events/fellowship-events/2020/07/rsa-artists-network-film-night-hymns-to-women2



An interactive screening of two short films featuring in-depth conversations on the themes that brought them to light.

The RSA Fellows Artists’ Network presents ‘Hymns to Women’, an evening with filmmaker/artist Elinor Rowlands introduced by Mark Power FRSA.

Everyone is welcome to join this screening and discussion night. Elinor will show her following two films:

1. ‘The Forest’ 2018 (14 minutes 30 seconds)

2. ‘Showered and Dressed (Like Breath not Breathing)’ 2017 (9 minutes 48 seconds)

About the Director:

Elinor Rowlands FRSA uses new technologies combined with storytelling and performance to disseminate her experience as a neurodivergent woman navigating the world through intersectional identities. Feelings of ‘otherness’ stem from lack of access that many autistic and neurodivergent people encounter, and are offered through the prism of ritual. This gives her digital and performative work a phantasmagorical feel; it is overwhelming and immersive, and secretive yet particularly revealing to diverse audiences. As a feminist neurodivergent artist, she makes comment on identity politics and highlights her innate compassion for tradition and natural forces. Through dream-building and ancient sensibility, her work asks questions about where new technologies and live performance meet and breaks new ground.

Guest Speakers:

Eleanor Linsey FRSA of Sisters of Frida, ”bringing disabled women together, mobilising and sharing through lived experience”. 

Organised by Hazel Chandler FRSA of RSA Artists’ Network. Learn more about this network. 

This event will be followed by a Q+A.

The event will take place via the online conferencing platform, Zoom. You will receive the link to this meeting upon registering for the event, and again as a reminder 30 minutes before.

If you have questions about this event, please email Rachel Godin (Interim RSA Coffeehouse and London Events Manager) at rawthmells.coffeehouse@rsa.org.uk 

Please use the “Book Now” link above to receive joining instructions.

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