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What, two, three… sounds

My ongoing collaboration with glass sculptor Griet Beyaert, has emerged into a new phase as we launch ESS<=>GEE: here. We often use vestigial count-ins to set out on free improvisations involving our assembled instruments. The above title stems from one such count-in, either misheard or misspoken. What follows from the count-in could be… anything. Perhaps the complex delay set-ups that Griet uses impose their own timings, but these are infinitely malleable and shift subtly throughout the pieces. So far, we have not sought to cage a tempo, but definable tempi do emerge and diverge over time.

ESS<=>GEE has undergone a long incubation. We started working together on the sonification of the glass sculptures back in 2018. It wasn’t until 2021 that we actually began playing together. In the meantime, Griet had been developing her own unique sound exploring subtle variations in tone and timbre within the folded surfaces of the glass. Using an array of delays, Griet is able to produce vibrant textures inter-spliced by a range of vocalisations. While I have improvised with cello alongside many specialist synth players, I have not explored the synth itself a great deal. That changed during lockdown when I decided to alter tack radically, moving away from bulky acoustic instruments and towards more portable setups. I have an abiding love of all things oscillator, and now I started experimenting with the highly versatile and highly portable synth/sampler from Synthstrom: the incredible Deluge! While this instrument usually finds its place among beat-focused genres, I find it is also incredibly inspiring for work with more open formats. Using a combination of live processing, sampling, slicing and oscillation, I find myself in a completely new terrain.

When we finally managed to bring our setups together in the summer of 2021, we knew we had found something worthy of pursuit. We’re now releasing clips from our sessions on Bandcamp and are working towards a live show as we gradually move into post-pandemic status. What, two three…

Since I have begun posting sound works and collaborations, I will be adding selections from my archives. Starting with Suite Six Dream, made in collaboration with Jack Glover, then taking in various demos and one-offs— I’ll get to the legendary Legs Bisto, Rebecca Riots and Wild Hunny and the Jars in the fullness of time…

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