mark harris - in the forests_the animals are moving

  • Cat No : 242
  • Label : n5MD
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My work has been described as "Glacial Ambient” by a number of critics, which has a certain logic to it, (However I tend to see myself more in the minimalist tradition of Steve Riech, Philip Glass and La Mont Young - and as a I tend to use heavily processed audio and electronics. I have definite Electroacoustic / musique concrete influences as well,) But "Glacial Ambient” is a fairly close fit as I tend to work with very slow development and gradual change within a piece.

As a composer I’m constantly feel myself pulled in two directions, Firstly I try to avoid the tendency of a lot of contemporary music of constantly adding more and more superfluous detail and “events” to provide interest to hold the attention of the listener, rather than leaving the composition to develop slowly under its own internal logic. And secondly in opposition to this I’m interested in giving a sense of place or landscape and development even a sense of drama into a piece.

In an attempt to reconcile these two trends I decided for my next release that I would produce one extended composition with five related movements. As in my previous work the whole piece developed slowly, however in a break with my previous compositions in “in the forest” includes more “dramatic” sections where I make use of feedback and overdriven distorted sounds and move the piece out of the ambient cannon..

The genesis and first initial recording of “In the forests_the animals are moving” began in early 2014, with a series of experiments with modular synthesis processes mimicking the harmonic properties of bell tones. I wasn’t working towards any goal. I had recently finished my last release the Angry Child and although I had been booked for a few live concepts, I considered this period “downtime” so took time out to experiment with some new software and hardware I had acquired As I proceeded, I became more interested in the harmonic properties of bell tones, and as I work primarily an improvisor I would improvise short compositions which I would then make into “mix tapes” which I would listen to more or less constantly whist doing the day job and had as background audio at home. Gradually when I came back to my studio and improvised new compositions I found myself subconsciously reacting to previous work I had been listening to, these new pieces were then mixed down to new “mix tapes” which became new source material.

So gradually, as the project proceeded I added other elements, live electronics, field recording and some heavily proceed prepared guitar all reacting to those initial improvisations and gradually over a year and a half's work the piece which became “in the forest_the animals are moving” took shape. The whole project has had very little preplanning and grew organically from the original source material..

As for the title, as I mentioned I spent a long period just listening to these original “bell improvisations” and these had obviously wormed there way into my subconscious As I had a recurring dreams over the period of time working on the project of being alone in a forest at night and hearing a single repeated bell which I used orientate myself to find my way home and avoid the wild animals that I could hear moving around unseen in the forest...

I hope the listener catches some of that mood, please enjoy - Mark Harris

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