Memory Machine is a ‘concert installation’ piece. It is a variable work which will rarely be heard exactly the same twice. But it has a basic form that remains the same – a beginning, a series of evolving episodes and an end, and can be performed in concert or run in a continuous loop as an installation. Memory Machine is in part inspired by mediaeval and renaissance ideas of mapping places, images and other objects of memory onto an imaginary stage in the mind – most especially as examined in Frances Yates’s book The Art of Memory (1966). In some of these ‘memory theatres’ (in the early 17thC writings of Robert Fludd, for example) there are five doors which act as ‘loci’ for the placing of memories. I have used this as a starting point for the spatialisation of the sound in this work. There are layers of memory, crossfades, unlikely combinations, distortions of time, interruptions. There are memories of soundscapes I have recorded over the past 35 years – a real aeolian harp being played in the wind, water sounds from streams and sea shore, the inside of a beehive. There are also memories of music which has some significance to me (it has some material in common with my fixed work Resonances (2007) – a Bourges Commission). Each time the piece is run new memories are added, old ones fade (and perhaps unexpectedly reappear). The work is designed to be perpetually evolving, just as memory does.
Memory Machine is a work for multichannel electroacoustic sound. It was composed for the Inventionen Festival Berlin 2010, substantially during the composer's period as Edgar Varese Visiting Professor at TU Berlin (2009-2010), with the support of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm.
Citation : Emmerson, S. (2010) Memory Machine (multichannel electroacoustic sound - concert installation, duration variable 12'00-60'00)
Research Group : Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre
Research Institute : Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)
Peer Reviewed : No
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