Fellowship Report - Developing strategies when composing with environmental sound in fixed-media and live performance

Blinkhorn ( Daniel Blinkhorn )
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Whilst my musical journey began composing and performing more traditional music on acoustic instruments, for the past several years I have become increasingly immersed in drawing from sound in the environment ( in its many and varied guises). I now devote a great deal of my time to the realisation of composition combining environmental field recordings coupled with technology as a primary generative device for capturing, processing, sculpting/ transforming, organising and ultimately diffusing my compositions.

My Fellowship was undertaken with the express intention of garnering a deeper and broader understanding of environmental sound when composing for fixed-media as well as live performance. My primary goal was to observe a number of individuals working closely at the nexus of composition and environmental sound, with the intention of developing innumerable techniques and strategies that can be used when composing.

In regards to the structure for the Fellowship, it can be divided into two parts, with the first comprising an expedition/ residency program within the Arctic region, and the second to visit three centre’s of musical excellence within North America.

The expedition and residency program enabled me to investigate at an intensive level issues implicit in my own sphere of influence (environmental sound, ecoacoustics, field recordings, sound art etc) whilst concurrently observing the cross fertilization of practices from a multitude of different disciplines, all couched within a pluralistic regimen comprising the artistic, didactic, scientific, aesthetic, ecological and technological frameworks (inter alia!) In short, it provided the chance to glean insights into how artists from other disciplines draw directly from the environment within their own artistic practice.

The second part of the trip was quite different, and allowed me to spend intensive periods of time with composers who have been pioneering the use of environmental sound in composition, each in vastly different ways from one another.

To this end, the Fellowship enabled wonderful exposure, in a variety of contexts, to the multitudinous possibilities when working with environmental sound composition for fixed- media and live performance 
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