Objects I’ve Been Given – a creative series for 2020

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Objects I’ve Been Given is a monthly creative project I’ve embarked on for the year of 2020. The project is based around small sound-making objects given to me over the years by friends and family, maybe for a birthday, or as a gift when visiting their country, and in some ways is a return to the more experimental work of mine from the early 2000s. The objects range from a tiny brass bell, to a handmade sculpture to an antique wooden zither,  from the simple to the ornate. To me they are much more than simple gifts or noise makers, they hold stories and memories and have been cherished over the years.

During each month of 2020 I will create a piece of quiet, longform music with one or two of the objects and, for the sake of purity, will use the barest minimum of recording equipment and a set of self-imposed limitations in the studio. The idea is to explore not just the sounds these objects are designed to make but to also highlight their surfaces and materials. My hope is that you hear the material of each object as they are struck, bowed, or scratched as I try to utilize the entirety of their form, musical or not. Experimental in nature, I will not set out to create grand pieces of ambient composition but rather small, personal sonic odes to these humble forms.

At the conclusion of the 12th piece I will write again reflecting back on the entirety of the project and how I felt the objects influenced the process.

This project is a thank you to those who have given me these special gifts and is dedicated to my friend and fellow artist Steve Roden. Steve’s amazing early recordings with non-musical objects have been a huge inspiration to me over the years. The trajectory of my entire musical career wouldn’t be the same without his work.