This album is only
available by mail order from Discipline Global Mobile.
Green Park Suite:
1. I Platform One
2. II Platform Two
3. III Platform Three
4. IV Platform Four
Green Park Suite:
8. V Platform Five
9. VI Platform Six
10. VII Platform Seven
Green Park Suite:
12. VIII Platform Eight
13. IX Polychromatic Park
14. X Technicolour Park
guitarist and soundscaper
David Singleton: quadrophonic sound engineer & digital
Hugh O'Donnell: the cracks between & merchandising
This record is a precis of
the three hours' music and of four sound sources into two. It is
true to the musicof the event, but it is also a translation. The
time, place and circumstances of listening are different: music is
only one part of a musical event. If an audient of this record were
also at Green Park Station. they might be interested in comparing
their experience of both. Our experience is ours and it makes its
own contribution, If you listen to this record with some attention
a connection may be made with the music, and your experience of
Soundscapes may change. This in turn will change Soundscapes. How
this happens is part of music's mystery. Music must be heard for it
to become real, and to be born into our world.
A Ton Prob Production by
Robert Fripp & David Singleton on behalf of Discipline Global
Sleeve design © Bill Smith
Studio, London. Cover picture: "Sea Change" by John
Music is an aspect of Intelligence with which, through which and to
which we may connect. This should not be difficult, as we are
already connected. So why is it so hard?
performance, in Green Park Station, was freely available to anyone
who walked through the former station to shop at Sainsbury's
supermarket or the trading stalls on the station platform. Hugh
O'Donnell set up and manned our own merchandising table.
Acts and decisions without innocence, choices to perform which
honour product over process, often close the door on music.
"Innocent" acts of publicity, celebrity, photography, recording and
autography, even of and by decent people, hold shut the door
through which music might more freely enter.
Explicit or implicit
demands from the audience, fans or enthusiasts, to conform to
expectations of onstage and offstage behaviour, has taken from me
much of the enjoyment to be found in performance. I note with
regret that demands for personal attention are usually accompanied
by the "right" to make such demands.
Playing music is always a
privilege, and joy rightfully and naturally accompanies this play:
even, is freely available to anyone present, for merely being
present. When autography and photography assume the value of the
unfolding performance something has been lost; something has gone
Performance is utterly
impersonal, yet intimate.
David Singleton and I have been involved together with Soundscaping
since early 1994 when we began an ongoing project known to us as
"The Gates of Paradise". Gradually we approached the gates but were
not able to find a way through until the Southbank performances of
March 1996. The door opened in the middle of the series, at around
six o'clock on the Saturday evening. Our experience of being on the
other side of the threshold has changed our relationship with
Soundscapes, which in turn has changed Soundscapes.
Our understanding changes
what we understand. The object of our understanding then requires
from us in turn a new understanding. When this takes place - in the
moment that music flies by - process and content become
inseparable: the act of music IS the music. The musician and
audience are not so much playing and listening, or "doing" music:
they are BEING music.
This performance is our second realtime Sonic Installation. The
first was part of the Futuremusic Symposium organised by Michael
Morris of Cultural Industry which took place over the four
consecutive days of March 7-10th. 1996. The performance times were
Thursday 18-22.00; Friday 18-20.00; Saturday 13-15.00, 16.30-22.00;
and Sunday 18-22.00. David and Hugh set up a quadrophonic sound
system, devised and constructed the preceding day by David
Singleton, in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the
Southbank, London. The cabinets were angled to reflect sound off
the walls, and include the materials of the building itself in the
The audience were free to
sit, lie, wander, drink, eat, listen, not listen, go to sleep,
interrogate the music; that is, to participate to whatever degree
and in whatever fashion they wished. Some of the audience
encountered us by accident while walking to and from other events
within the facility, or in the bathroom. How any of us responded to
this was open to the individual. There were signs asking for no
recording or photography. Sadly, this request was
I have never played such a
long, demanding performance schedule. After a period of
concentration, I would leave the carpet and perhaps ask Hugh or
David what to play next. One of Hugh's more oblique comments was to
Long performances force
the performer to move beyond their competence. It becomes
impossible to act purely professionally. We have to take the leap;
to make the leap, we have to drop our baggage; without the baggage,
small openings are big enough. At the end of Saturday afternoon,
and the beginning of Saturday evening, the gate opened. Sometimes
God hides, and sometimes God waves.
performances also have the advantage of giving us the time that any
particular Soundscape needs to evolve, develop and move to places
of its own necessity; and to allow the audience a chance to
discover different ways of involving itself within the
Our two installation
performances have felt gentler than the traditional concerts of my
experience. There is not the same demand which characterises the
European concert tradition, of artists mounting the stage and
declaiming, impressing, strutting, virtuositising; nor the sense of
division between music, musician and audience; neither the fixity
of place, nor distraction of audience movement from a specific
position. Yet it is just as possible for music to lean over and
take us into its confidence. Not all the gates to Paradise are at
the front of the building.
We were scheduled to set off at 09.30 on Thursday 21st. November
from Discipline World Central, near Salisbury, to Green Park
Station in Bath. David had forgotten to tell Hugh when we were
leaving, so we left at 10.40. The venue, a decommissioned railway
station, is now an entrance to craft stalls and a Sainsbury's
supermarket. The platform columns displayed posters announcing the
performance as ongoing between 12.30 and 20.30. Hugh had forgotten
to tell me the performance times.
We began at 13.40, exactly
punctual had we been on time.
A small coterie of
enthusiasts, a parade of accidental audients, a running playing
dog, mothers and children, Peter Hammill and Michael Giles (both
local residents), various persons hovering to engage in
conversation with the performer despite the performer's obvious
commitment to performing, an elderly irate gentleman who leaned
over the railings demanding a diminution of amplitude, a reporter
with camera from the local newspaper: these and more were our
It was very cold.
Regularly we would warm ourselves with hot chocolate or savage
beasts of capuccini from the Green Park Restaurant, and I would
walk around the platform to appraise the sound. At 14.20 we found
our sense of place, musically and sonically. David repositioned the
speakers, directing the sound outwards from the quad performance
area, using the walls to reflect and deflect the sound. The quad
system was effectively two different and simultaneous stereo
performances, separate but interrelated (except on one occasion),
and comparable to two different ensembles playing at opposite ends
of the platform.
The organisers - Derek
Pierce and the Bath Guitar Festival - as well as Hugh and David,
received dozens of complaints, possibly more than one hundred.
Nominally, these focused on the volume. One stall holder threw up.
Our overall impression was that it would be better for us to stop,
and even better to stop very soon. So at around 16.40 we closed
down the sound, which was not actually loud, three hours into the
projected event with an unsatisfied 3'50" to go.
David and Hugh packed up
the equipment, and I did my grocery shopping at
This record is a precis of the three hours' music, and of four
sound sources into two. It is true to the music of the event, but
it is also a translation. The time, place and circumstances of
listening are different: music is only one part of a musical event.
If an audient of this record were also at Green Park Station, they
might be interested in comparing their experience of both. Our
experience is ours, and it makes its own contribution. If you
listen to this record with some attention a connection may be made
with the music, and your experience of Soundscapes will change.
This in turn will change Soundscapes. How this happens is part of
music's mystery. Music must be heard for it to become real, and to
be born into our world.
Some music sounds like
people listen to it.
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