Friday, November 16, 2012

Infusion - songs, sounds and tea

so...ever since having my sound world opened up, the palette of sounds i want to communicate with has expanded, and the format of singing songs one after the other no longer seemed to sit right with me.

i also wanted the experience of playing music to be new and different for me, and as fresh for me as it would be for anyone watching...

over the months i've been percolating on this and in the last week or so after reading a book about mind maps - i decided to mind map what an enjoyable concert would mean for me.

Mind maps are a lot better than I thought they would be - the very term conjurs up images of sitting in a corporate board meeting doing some 'brain-storming'...but actually the experience was very different and yielded some fab results. The basic premise with mind-mapping is that the brain doesn't think in logical steps or bullet points or narrative or sequentially as we think but creates and remembers through associations and invents through making new neural pathways.

Coincidentally, this is the very activity I'm trying to encourage through sound, song and performance - the creation of multiple associations...multiple experiences and the possibility for an idea or word or theme can be explored or re-explored within the context of a musical performance setting.

The term i came found that most closely resembles what it means for me at the moment is 'Infusion'. 

in - fu - sion

1. teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions (inculcate, instill)
2. fill, as with a certain quality (tincture)
3. undergo a process of infusing (steep)
4. let sit in a liquid to extract a flavour or to cleanse (steep, marinate)
5. introduce into the body through a vein

1. fill, charge, inspire, pervade, inundate, imbue, suffuse
2. instil, add, introduce, breathe, inject, implant, impart, inculcate
3. brew, soak, steep, saturate, immerse, macerate.

These words energised me when i thought about presenting sounds and songs...i wrote the following:

i want a music-making/playing experience which sets up an environment of sound - which fills, pervades  - which, like tea infusion draws/extracts a new 'flavour' through the process of sitting with...

- to fill, as with a certain quality.

This was written back in June - but the mind map I did last week shows that the ideas above are still there...

The amazing thing about this mind map is the way I was able to come up with new ways of seeing words and ideas - i even 'invented' a word - audiocaching - and other words became whole new concepts - Adventure was written Advent.ure or Add.venture...

It's pretty hard to see the whole thing so I will introduce a few close up portions of the image - i wanted to note the types of recurring images/themes that happened even in the making of this became very much about tributaries and pathways as opposed to structure...even the cracks in a pathway (mistakes) more likely resemble the organic meanderings found in rivers and tree branches and splashes of light - much more in tune with how life is than a constructed brick pathway...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

raw sushi and workbench4beginners

beautiful to look at - yummy to eat...raw sushi...the main difference being the rice is parsnip. put it through a food processor and in some instances add some flavouring and then roll away as per usual.

the workbench is a homemade instrument work-in-progress based on Eric Leonardson's Springboard

it uses a contact mic and sometimes a hydrophone which then amplify the bowing and plucking of oven grills, wine racks and various other kitchen implements. much like the sushi - you get the ingredients, roll them together and are some pics of various parts of the workbench.

here is a demo recording of the workbench:

Workbench4beginners by christinewhite  

Friday, March 9, 2012


I have recently found and joined the site ImprovFriday which sets weekly improvisational tasks - good for me as I love the intuitive aspect of composing so any chance to sharpen this aspect is all good with me. Here is my first entry - the theme was Variations so i chose the song sketch powderpuff and set about playing to create a variation sketch.

This is what came out:
Powderpuff variation by christinewhite

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Magnet Bay Farm

Magnet Bay Farm is about fifteen minutes drive from Little River in Banks Peninsula, Aotearoa/New Zealand. I have stayed there three times in the last nine months and have grown to love the place.

My initial two visits were in order to rehearse for a national tour with the show Voices of our Ancestors - an exploration by three Ngai Tahu women, through story, sound and song, of histories both family and tribal. As we all lived in different parts of the country, it seemed fitting to come together for rehearsals on Ngai Tahu soil. We all shared ancestral linkages with Wairewa marae, and so it was a great privilege to be able to base at Magnet Bay Farm, which had recently been regifted back to Wairewa marae by farmer Jim Wright.

I wasn't very well on the first stay, and so wasn't up for a walk down the farm, but Mahina and Ariana went and came back very excited about the assortment of farm equipment (read here as 'sound-making objects').

The next time we visited, I was able to go for the walk - and certainly wasn't disappointed!! Fifty metres from the house it begins - yards and yards of farm equipment in various stages of repair - wire cages, sheds galore, a sheep transport trailer, 44 gallon drums, pots, old tractor, hap makers, a saw really iwas like heaven! That afternoon we walked from pile to pile and hit, scraped, and jumped on things. The next day I went back with an H2 zoom and over the course of a few hours recorded as many of the items as I could.

Mahina kicking a wee drum

Ariana with a metal sheet

Over a period of time I want to archive the sounds and explore them in combinations. I can't help feeling there is a piece of music to be made on-site. Robin and Ngaire, who now manage the farm on behalf of the marae, have certainly indicated there are stories to be told, and they are keen that Jim not be forgotten.

Here is the first sketch-combination of some of the sounds on Magnet Bay Farm.