About The work
The Secret Noise finds much of its inspiration in cultural practices that, for various reasons, have been shielded or hidden from public consumption. The work has evolved as a sequence of scenes, each of which poetically references diverse types of music-making at the fringes of public experience. From sacred forms of ceremonial music to legally extinguished compositions, to backmasking and personal music players, The Secret Noise is a poetic response to such practices and a critical commentary on our understanding of music as a public or private exchange.
The work spans scored and improvised music involving conventional and unconventional instruments as well as electronic music. Although the entire work is based on common themes and sound sources, the recorded form of the work is not a recreation of the live experience. The live work tends towards a more dramatic theatrical aesthetic while the recorded work tends towards a more austere and meditative aesthetic making creative use of attributes particular to the vinyl and CD media.
The live work in produced by Ensemble Offspring and involves eight experienced artists from different disciplines who have created the work in a collaborative fashion.
The Secret Noise is conceptually grouped around themes under the following titles each referring to different conceptions of secret or private music.
Music of Friends
Plis Cachetés takes as its starting point a surreal exploration of artistic ownership and the law. It forms the basis of the opening installation of the live show where audience’s plis cachetés (drawings by Harry Pierce) are interpreted/authorised with individualised performances.
From paranoid governments to monopolising corporations, hyper-protective artist-estates and composers withdrawing their early works, this scene is a compendium of sound based on music that has been legally extinguished from the public experience. This scene takes its name from the French Scientific Academy’s method of patenting ideas via the submission of proposals as plis cachetés (sealed envelopes). In the period following the French revolution thousands of ideas were sealed and, until recently, remained lost and unavailable to the public. This scene alludes to proposals found in the plis cachetés concerning the invention of new forms of music and dance notation. The drawings used in this ‘entry’ scene allude to arcane notational languages and were created by artist Harry Pierce. Often added to by audience-participants the drawings are interpreted into movement and sound by the performers in a surreal experience somewhere between bureaucratic routine and the intimacy of a private show.