It may not be apparent on the first examination, but the pipe organ has played a significant role in most of the work I have produced over the past decade. On Wilderness Of Mirrors and Cruel Optimism, the organ was central in helping shape many of the pieces. The clearest and most audible example is in “Negative Drone” (from Cruel Optimism), but there are many other moments when the pipe organ has been fundamental in affecting my work. I feel then, it’s about time I give this miraculous instrument some overdue focus.
Not far from where I live in Brisbane is the Old Museum. It was the site of, as you’d guess, the Queensland Museum across most of the previous century. Today, space is used more for performance-based work and, as part of that, it houses a beautiful organ built in the late 19th century by Melbourne organ manufacturer William Anderson.
The organ has three manuals, 28 speaking stops and mechanical action. For me, the critical thing about this instrument is the way the stops operate. In an organ, a stop is a device that allows the pressurised air into the organ pipes. Each organ has a very unique quality and the stops on this particular organ allow for some very slow shifts in tonality to take place. It’s this potential that is at the heart of these two works.
The first piece, “Saccade,” is dedicated to my dear friend and source of endless inspiration Éliane Radigue. Éliane’s work has been my constant companion on tour since the release of Wilderness Of Mirrors. I can’t tell you the number of flights on which she has kept me company. Her work has smoothed out the unease of bumpy atmospherics and soothed states of deep exhaustion. Trilogie de la Mort, Adnos I-III and L’île resonance are pieces I return to again and again. This piece is a dedication and in some small way both an acoustic homage and note of thanks for music that has left an indelible mark on my appreciation of sound’s motion in time.
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