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by Sylvia Hallett

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telescope 28:48


Sylvia Hallett

I started off my composition life writing loads of dots on musical manuscript paper, then discovered free improvisation at about the same time as realising that I wanted to compose with sound more than writing pieces for instruments. So tape became my medium. Two two-track reel-to-reel tape recorders enabled me to make tape loops, playing things backwards and changing the speed, copying from one tape machine to another. This progressed to working on a high-speed Portastudio, (Tascam 244) using four tracks at a time, and bouncing down to a decent cassette tape recorder, or even a DAT recorder. This is the period of time I am looking back on through my telescope, the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I was commissioned to compose music for dance, (Emilyn Claid, Miranda Tufnell), and also theatre soundtracks (Monstrous Regiment, DooCot) and BBC Radio drama. I was also trying to make my own material for some future use. I am now in that future, and here are some of the sounds from my Portastudio days. I have re-composed the material, layering the years on top of each other with the help of my computer. My old whistling kettle is in there somewhere, and probably my manual coffee grinder. But that doesn’t matter. I no longer know what all the sounds are, plus some of them are playing backwards and most are playing at the wrong speed. I am older now and I like things slower. What brings the sounds together is that they were recorded onto TAPE, and they were all sounds I made. I hope the listener will find some curious stories in there.


released September 9, 2022

assembled, mixed, and mastered by Sylvia Hallett in London August 2022




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