Alluvium is an installation which is based around sound emerging from underground, outdoors, in a countryside garden.
The work combines two sources of sound — the first is derived from amplifying sounds that are happening underground, within the soil itself. The second source is an accompanying series of overlapping vocal loops. These two aspects are then generatively combined, so that they never repeat in exactly the same way.
The word ‘alluvium’ is a geographical term describing the process of water acting on soil — eroding it and transforming it. The work takes this word as a poetic prompt of sorts — the sound integrates recordings from the soil, and the speakers themselves, in turn, cause the earth to resonate and vibrate underfoot.
Our hope is that the work can play with a sense of the uncanny that can arise from perceiving sound that has been shifted away from the familiar — sound which has been eroded and reshaped by its surroundings.
The first presentation of Alluvium was at Ponderosa, Stolzenhagen, from September 7. to 13., 2020. This presentation also included a one-off performative intervention in the work, in which three singers, buried in the soil of the garden, undertook a ‘duet’ with the installation, singing to each other. This intervention, presented by Emma Saba, Catol, and Tom O’Doherty, was undertaken as part of the Ponderosa Unfestival 2020.
Development of the work has been supported by Musikfonds e.V.