Up until 'Portals', 15 years had passed since my last composition in stereo. All my acousmatic work had been expressed in multi-channel and ambisonics formats.
Considering that I perform and teach sound diffusion, those 15 years may seem paradoxical. Yet, during that time I had been content exploring the canon of stereo acousmatic music in diffusion concerts. Now things had changed.
I wanted to revisit unfolding my own sound-worlds over the Acousmonium. I missed the performance and excitement of that moment, and I missed the features of the format. Combing knowledge of ambisonics with knowledge of the Acousmonium, I made the Virtualmonium instrument - a projection of the Acousmonium over an ambisonics loudspeaker array. The Virtualmonium allowed me to perform both sound diffusion and ambisonics in one concert.
Composing my own new work for performance over either the Virtualmonium or a conventional Acousmonium was thus the first impetus behind 'Portals'.
I then made some rules. The composition needed to feature materials that I knew I would enjoy performing: gestures, 'treasured sounds', solo lines contrasted with deep spatial scenes, materials that I could unfold actively in spatialisation. Starting within a Musique Concrete framework, I chose three acoustic sound sources that had sat unused on my shelf for as many years as I had been away from stereo composition. I first approached them in a basic way, and then pushed to their qualities into abstraction, applying experiments of more recent times.
For the listener, I want to invite you into a world of your own imagination: through an opening portal, falling downwards into a more mysterious space that reveals itself, created through a balance between nostalgic references to acousmatic spectral sonorities and new, more eccentric sounds, woven into the musical fabric.
Avoiding an obvious arched-form, I hope I have allowed room for surprises and twists, to allow a journey that can be experienced in the moment as well as leading conclusively to the final cavern.