Hurtling towards me on the horizon is Red Note's Noisy Words weekend.
This idea is to put 5 composers and 5 writers in a room for two days and shake it all about. There'll be a concert on Sunday night, if any of us are still alive. You'd be welcome to come down to see us and try to revive our ailing senses with wine. It's at the Traverse in Edinburgh at 5pm on Sunday 27th November.
So, writing a piece in 2 days is not unheard of for me, but usually I spend quite a lot of time just thinking, imagining before I write. With Noisy Words, I have no idea what the available instrumentation will be, or who I will be working with, or what sort of writing they make. So this really will be a scratch composition.
It will be interesting to see how this works in practice. I'm fairly sure, having attended various Noisy Nights gigs, that my composing process is very different from many composers, I don't use paper, I don't even tend to use a key or chords, or well, anything. I usually start with some splatter gun approaches, and then select snippets which appeal to me and inspire me to develop them. So, I think my process will be challenged. My expectations are that although I work with text, spoken word and live instruments fairly regularly, this adaptation of process will throw me into a different style of writing. This certainly happened at the Distil weekend last year. Instead of starting with a melody or phrase, we started with beats, and worked upwards. The music I created was totally different to anything I had written before.
The last few days I've been getting some practice in. I'm putting together a 5 minute piece for Noisy Nights 16 (or maybe 17 if we count Noisy Words?). I recently found some lovely archive footage of Tre'r Ceiri, a place where I walked and waltzed with a raven. I've used the footage and the raven waltz as the basis for this piece for Cello, Fiddle and Harmonium. I wanted to retain a feeling of the ancient nature of the hill fort, so have opted for simple melodies and drones. It's now in a bare bones stage, and I will start to shape and sculpt and finally, I shall scribe, so the Noisy people can play.
Have a look at Noisy Words http://www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/noisy-words/
A little review in The Scotsman http://bit.ly/vvKzK3