Vox I: Echo Chamber
'Vox I: Echo Chamber' is the first in a series of improvisation-based works written for Vox London Collective. It received its premiere by the Roundhouse Choir at an intimate concert in the Roundhouse in November 2016. The work is for an unfixed number of revolving soloists and an unspecified large ensemble.
'Vox I' was inspired by a moment when I was practising shakuhachi near a piano. I noticed that the piano's strings would resonate sympathetically to my shakuhachi playing; whichever note I played on my shakuhachi, the equivalent pitch would faintly echo back at me from the piano. When I tried this with the sustain pedal down, the effect was amplified and I could create a sustained soundscape of sympathetic resonance, whose harmony was controlled by my shakuhachi melody.
This piece works in a similar manner, with the shakuhachi replaced by a soloist on any instrument, and the role of the resonating piano strings taken over by an accompanying ensemble who quietly sustain the pitches that the soloist plays in their melodies.
The subtitle doesn't in fact refer to an acoustic echo chamber, but rather draws a parallel between the meaning of the term 'Echo Chamber' as used in media and the way the soloist has their own melody consistently repeated back at them in a way. This concept was particularly topical at the time 'Vox I' was written, in the aftermath of the British EU referendum and the lead up to the 2016 US presidential election.
In June 2017, I released the 'Mini Chamber' iOS application, which allows users to perform a digital version of this piece with nothing more than their device. The app is free to download and use so if you're interested in giving it a try, please search for 'Mini Chamber' in the App Store! #MakeModernMusic
Audio recording of the premiere of 'Vox I: Echo Chamber' at the Roundhouse, London, on 30th November 2016.
- Ensemble - Roundhouse Choir
- Soloists - Ryan O'Riordan, Irini Mando, George Admiraal, Dawn Coulshed, Omar Peracha
Audio recording 2 at Club Inégales, London, 26th March 2017.
Performed by Notes Inégales and the participants of Academy Inégales, conducted by Peter Wiegold, with special guests Kiya Tabassian on Setar and the late Dhruba Ghosh on Sarangi. May he rest in peace.
Recorded by Mārtiņš Baumanis, mixed by Omar Peracha.