Hidden Values (2012) 22'00

Part 1: The Umbrella (Duration 4'22)
Part II: Optical Tubes (Duration 6'44)
Part III: The Lock (Duration 8'48)

Every year, new inventions push the boundaries of science and enrich our understanding of the natural world. Ancient and seemingly minor inventions have also shaped our societies and affect our everyday in a multitude of ways. A single object can connect to the history of the world, yet the utility of these simple devices go unnoticed. Hidden Value takes a moment to reflect on three of these inventions: the umbrella, the lock (and key) and sight correction. The work was composed at IRCAM during a music research residency exploring advanced sound spatialisation techniques in composition. From the abundance of inventions that have found their way into everyday objects, I chose themes that would yield to the compositional use of space, the projection of near and far information and the transformation between sound masses, sound scenes and precise spatial points. Special thanks to soprano Evdokija Danajloska and percussionist Gilles Durot for their collaboration in the sound materials used in the composition of this work.

The research residency was funded by IRCAM, The Oslo City Cultural Grant for International collaboration, and the Norwegian Cultural Council. 'Hidden Value' was composed at IRCAM with support from the Norwegian Composers' Fund. The work was composed in 7th order 3D ambisonics and also exists in a number of other spatial formats.

Part I: The Umbrella.

An umbrella protects from the environment - protects from the rain, snow, sun and to some extent the wind. As a metaphor it protects and saves, defends and deflects, cover and disguise, but maybe it's just unnecessary baggage. The Umbrella explores a real umbrella and a real environment, but also the metaphor found in a short poem "Instantes", falsely attributed to by Jorge Luis Borges, "I was one of those who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, without a hot-water bottle, and without an umberella and without a parachute. If I could live again, I would travel lighter. If I could live again, I would begin to walk barefoot from the beginning of spring and I would continue barefoot until autumn ends."

Part II: Optical Tubes

Optical Tubes, apparently invented by Descartes, were glass tubes that touched the eyeball like contact lenses, but with the unfortunate side effect that you could not blink! A large proportion of the adult population wear glasses to correct their vision. Seeing the world in focus or through a haze is something we can choose to do. In Optical Tubes, imagining how it would have been for objects to only appear in focus as you moved towards or away from them is a central musical idea.

Part III: The Lock

The invention of the lock and key can be traced back over 4000 years. The theme of the lock and key and its metaphors, have been used throughout literary and dramatic history. Locked doors provide safety in a modern world. A lock hides secrets from prying eyes, locks people in, locks people out, represents power and ownership. The Lock plays out a drama between two forces: one represented by the female voice, the other by percussion instruments.