Sound Views of the Barbican Estate may be divided loosely into two sonic constituents, differing both in source material and musical function. The first component, subdivided in to six miniatures, is a set of auditory variations on sound taken from the architecture. These electroacoustic miniatures are composed from processed field recordings, and represent a response to the architectural aesthetic. The second component, composed of instrumental sound and electronic processing, represents an emotional response to the space.
A third sub-component, which takes the six electroacoustic miniatures as its source material, represents the memories of locations that the listener has already visited, and imaginations of the space that they have yet to experience.
Each of the six electroacoustic variations are site specific, composed and structured independently to accompany a different view of the Barbican Estate. Each is heard in its entirety when the listener enters the location associated with it.
The instrumental component is heard whenever the listener is not situated in one of the six aforementioned locations. It exists as one continuous piece, though would only be experienced as such if the listener were to remain stationary for twenty-seven minutes. In practice, the piece is modular; the listener traverses the composition as they explore the space.
The composition is structured upon a trio of views of the three residential tower blocks. Each view is assigned a tonal center, and is represented by nine minutes of music heard in succession. Each of the three residential towers is represented by an instrument (Flute, Violin, or Piano) and each side of the tower by a musical function (reinforces tonal center, disguises tonal center, or no tonal center). The Barbican’s residential towers are physically identical, but are rotated such that you see a different side of each. Therefore I chose to structure my composition such that in each nine minute section the instrumental forces fill differing roles, depending on which side of their associated side is visible from that viewpoint. All musical material is spatialised (in terms of both perceived distance and direction) according to this structure.
The aforementioned sound memories are heard in conjunction with this instrumental sound; whilst visiting a specific location will cause the listener to hear memories of that space, they may also be experienced elsewhere, such is the nature of memories!