October 27, 2005

Aerial fragment, transversal birdsong

Follow-up to King of the Mountain – Kate Bush from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

I just recieved an email containing a link to a stream playing a small fragment of the forthcoming Aerial by Kate Bush (out 7th of November). This is going to be quite fascinating.

The stream seems to have been taken from the more "abstract and conceptual" of the two discs, A Sea of Honey (not at all like the current single release). It is accompanied by an animation based on the CD cover, which features a golden sea scape with a waveform stretched across the middle looking almost like a row of mountainous islands reflected in the water.

The clip starts with a repetitive piano riff (think Olivier Messiaen), which is then overlayed by a short sampled birdsong riff (definitely think Olivier Messiaen). The animation makes it clear that the waveform is that of the birdsong. And then a line sweeps across the screen, very much alien and intrustive to the natural image, reminding us that it is a composed image – or perhaps the waveform is sweeping through the line. In any case, the coherence of the waveform is deflected outwards, throwing out fragments that morph into a flock of birds. And at the same time, the sound of the bird song is transposed into a more human, infant sound.

Intrigue: see the clip.

Messiaen was fascinated by birdsong; he considered birds to be the greatest musicians, and considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer. He notated birdsongs worldwide, and incorporated birdsong transcriptions into a majority of his music. Wikipedia entry

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