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The solo part in Prowl Routine arises from material in a few short improvisations which I recorded in response to Gillian's first batch of sculptures. Gillian then responded by making the two sculptures which are the centrepiece of the set-up for Prowl Routine. Previously, Gillian's work had struck me as being close to the extreme end of abstraction, suggesting to me a sort of haunting emotional debris. Immediately, however, the larger of the two new sculptures struck me as having a clearer real-world parallel in a spiny, stalking creature. The presence of the much smaller companion piece had me imagining the creature's stance as protective and caring. Soon I had generated the background musical material which places the creature in its environment.
As the title suggests, this piece is about territorial, defensive feelings and a wariness of the wider community and its machinations. It is the latest in a series of works which imagines emotional states being played out in vast, strange, imaginary landscapes. These thoughts were initially provoked by J. G. Ballard's The Atrocity Exhibition, and later by the odd worlds depicted by the artist Max Ernst. However, whilst Ballard's dreamscapes require the most virtuosic literary tricks, all good non-programmatical music seems to have an intrinsic potential to conjure up these landscapes in the mind of the listener.
I think of Prowl Routine as non- programmatic but the sculpture, alongside some of the strange markings on the score, help to terraform the listener's mental landscape a little.
List of works
Hut Ritual
Exhibition Suite
Triple Concerto
Fastener (Bra 3) (Plunge)
Prowl Routine
Sweet Suffolk Owl
Package 1a
What a Clarinet Sounds Like
Scores opens in a new window.
Embankment Beach
© 2015 Tom James, Tom Owen, Jenny Jackson & Chris Noble.
Prowl Routine
Players and performances
Part of the Underscore Collaboration 21 June 2012
Bass clarinet
Tom Owen
Tom James
Jess Jevon
Jono Read
Charlie Hardwick
Video coming soon