Lab Four

May 2008 : Operated from the Tolbooth Arts Centre where some of the walls are more than 2 feet thick. It was the town’s jail and court house and Bed lab space was up in the attic where those sentenced to death spent their last nights. Probably a good job I didn’t know this on arrival day : clear and fresh chilly Scottish delight post London crush.


The build of the Bed had been a more ambitious project than had been anticipated so we spent the first few days under wraps, and the last few late nights rubbing down the startlingly gorgeous ash veneer and birch tops for polishing. And a woofer was blown and the Bed miraculously built 10 cm longer than plans and 5cm wider, so the covers had to be redesigned and a new mattress to fit brought in.

Composition was ultimately the focus, exploring building and shrinking mountains and valleys of sound through addition and subtraction of different pitches, so creating motion through change in texture and intensity . Yes, this was the first pitch based composition I’d yet attempted for a Bed, and was inspired through thoughts on blowing chords and the Bangor residency in March with pipers Chris and Jarlath.

The only motion of sound I wrote into this piece was imitating loom weaving of sound in straight lines, back and forth and up and down, making lattices across the rise and falls growing under the listening body.

Many thanks to all at the Tolbooth, most especially Alasdair Campbell for non stop support and commitment.