Monday, 14 March 2011

Textile Music

In December last year I was very kindly invited by Becky Earley to take part in the University of the Arts, London's Textile Futures Research Centre's event Textile Music. You can find out more about the Centre's previous and current research by clicking on the link above.

I was asked to run a short one hour workshop with various members of the research group, exploring the question "what does our research sound like?" and to put together and play a DJ set of music referencing textiles and textile related words. Songs and band names were suggested by members of the group, some of my friends, and members of the sampler-cultureclash facebook group. This included traditional songs, songs sung whilst making textiles and, well anything connected to textiles, such as the theme tune to the TV series "Are You Being Served". You can listen to a selection of the songs via my you tube page: It's eclectic to say the least!
Textile Songs

My favourite was "anything by Fred Astaire"!! thank you Mr Gates for that one!
Please feel free to add suggestions. There's a page on the sampler-cultureclash facebook group in discussions.

My personal interest is traditional textile songs from Lancashire, where I grew up, which I've been researching over the last few months. Many of which I've discovered via the English Folk Dance and Song Society's amazing library and archive at Cecil Sharpe House in Camden, London.

For the workshop, participants discussed and explored the Centre's four themes:
1. Design-Science Textiles
2. Digital Textiles
3. Sustainable Textiles
4. Identity; Reflection

They then came together to create a new collective pixel drawing inspired by these discussions. In the evening the pixel drawing was played back through the piano player as a whole piece, and then played again this time sampling and looping sections using a loop pedal over the top of various drum breaks to create a new improvised piece of music. The "performance" was filmed so I'll post it when it's ready.

In the meantime, here's the piece in full

and here's a sound recording of the piece played in reverse, which I actually prefer.

I'll be experimenting with the piece, sampling and looping sections to see what else I can create from it.

A huge thanks to Becky and everyone at the TFRC for inviting me to take part and to everyone who suggested music and songs, in particular Helen Carnec, David Gates, Mark Alder, and Deirdre Nelson.

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