My Inspiration: Jamie Cook – S L O W | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Picture: Still from S L O W ‘s accompanying dance film by
 Bex Harvey and Adam Goodwin, featuring Megan Brown

Created by Newcastle-based musician, performer and producer Jamie Cook, S L O W was a promenade minimalist/techno inspired soundpiece performed live at Durham Castle (as part of their Occasion Collective’s artist residency) on March 16th 2019. The piece, which was watched by 350 people, saw Jamie live remix 4 musicians on a network of speakers spread throughout the castle accompanied by a dance film, projected on a large screen behind the musicians.

This performance premieres via Howzat TV’s YouTube channel today (23rd March) at 8pm. But before it does  Jamie tells us more about what inspired his work…

S L O W was a direct response to Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians (1976). Reich’s piece used acoustic instruments in an entirely new way, mimicking how new technologies were being used to play back short recordings in repetitive, mechanical, rhythmic ways i.e. early electronic dance music!!! Ever wonder what neo-classical music inspired by, or even, preempting techno sounds like?! Well this is it!! 

The piece is an hour long, built around a constant, relentless pulsing of repeated notes from the ensemble, with very occasional, tiny changes, creating a beautifully dense, gradually shifting harmonic and rhythmic texture. The experience of putting it on and just sitting and listening to it from start to finish is unbelievable. It’s like a bubble bath for the mind!!! Meditative, almost cleansing!! 

S L O W was the result of 1 year of work after the Durham Castle approaching me and Adam Goodwin (The Occasion Collective). It was so surreal. I’d had this idea for ages of a minimalist piece that built upon Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. A kind of semi-automated piece, existing all spread out in a vast space, so the audience moves through the piece itself, exploring the 

space and sound simultaneously. I never thought i would ever be able to realise this idea, but then the castle opportunity came up and I just thought “this is it, this is what I’m gonna do!”. The process involved loads of designing and tweaking the technological infrastructure, countless late nights going mad in my bedroom with cables and software, then bringing this idea to a group of musicians and creating our working method. Early on we had a few weekend residencies staying over in the ‘Bishop’s Suite’, an apartment in an upper corner of the castle, lined in ancient tapestries!! The whole thing was just wonderful and mad. I’ll never forget it!!! 

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