21 May 2015

The Making of 'Systems for a Score' New Release Today on The Vinyl Factory

Releasing tonight is Systems For a Score recorded and edited during my and Chris Weaver's solo show of the same name this year. Tonight's launch means the records are now available to order online at Tashkeel and The Vinyl Factory.

A Model Studio. Photo by Jerry Baloch
We conceived of and constructed a recording booth which we named A Model Studio for the exhibition, (pictured). Everything in it and the walls was decorated in glitched Atari coding, one wall entirely of perspex allowed gallery visitors to look on during the sessions.

The space at Tashkeel is in the remote city district of Nad El Sheba where we had the exhibition from Jan-Feb 2015. The recording studio, after a stint at the opening of Design District Dubai's Meet D3, is now installed at the Maraya Arts Centre in the nearby Emirate of Sharjah.  Youngsters from other Emirates (e.g. Ajman, Fujairah and Al Ain) come to Maraya's spaces to study or meet, we felt they would be inspired by the studio.

A Model Studio. Photo by Jerry Baloch

A Model Studio. Photo by Jerry Baloch
During the Systems for a Score, we had different groups of local school children make music concrete, folk musicians try out the space, Arabic singers perform abstract improvisations, artists who didn't use sound jam with us on instruments we'd built, club owners who played with sound in their spare time, university electronics tutors bring their own raw circuitry and so on.

The sessions originated from ideas to promote improvisation and experimentation in the region, while certain sessions were set improvisations, specifically for recording the album we were making with The Vinyl Factory.

A Model Studio. Photo by Jerry Baloch
Chris and I took Al Sadu weaves and turned them into data for music programming. We listened to and adapted the results until it was music we felt we understood sonically, and then entered into a protracted process of forming the music back into graphic scores and then again, weave. Design, graphics and interpretive languages consumed us around the start of the year. We travelled the UAE looking for the right weaver to work with, the Al Sadu weavers made several attempts to interpret the scores, but in the end it was a young Syrian-Emirati with his own loom who spontaneously took the scores in hand, cutting them up into little bits himself so that he could weave them.

We brought him the Al Sadu cotton and he manned the loom while we spent long days in his company discussing philosophy, the world and the weave. Sending the pieces back to UK for attaching to the vinyl sleeves, we then had time to upload snippets of the audio: