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Sunset Over a Seizing Civilisation

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This piece came from a little sound I heard in my head, an atmosphere, which I wanted to explore.

First, I made myself a soundbed to play in, and allowed two journeying violin lines to hatch out of my imagination; then I captured them in a digital suspension, wherein I gave one of them a delay and placed them in a pleasant and warm space.

The piece still surprises me when I listen back to it; it went in unexpected directions. But then, I wasn’t planning for it to be any way in particular; I set out to explore in the atmosphere I had created: to see what I could find.

I barely remember making it.

The file tells me the date alright, and I found it on my computer, so I know it must have been me. I have found this is a useful tactic for keeping track of recordings, as my brain cannot organise like this.

My handwritten notes tend to make sense only within about thirty minutes of completion. I often forget having played things.

Once I have worked on something a bit I will do a ‘save as’, and give it some sort of name.

The other day, I had a difficult morning and decided to ‘be productive’, as a way of dealing with my emotions. That was when I found this piece, recorded three weeks earlier. I cleaned up the files, and mixed it a little. It felt like a healthy coping mechanism, and tasted as fresh as spring sorrel.

I often wonder how much denial is involved in my creative process. This piece in particular has a very unconscious feel, revealed in the following elements: I barely remember making it – suggesting I entered a deep flow state while playing; I find it hard to remember how it sounds when I think of it; and it takes an unexpected turn.

I seem to have succeeded in tricking my own brain.

On the other hand, denial is such a powerful force. Maybe I did plan it out and have conveniently blocked this out. How can I speak authentically about my own subjective, mercurial mind?

I consider the unconscious, flow state, to be hugely important in the creative process, and very nourishing to engage with, but I could just be fooling myself completely and creating psychological scaffolding – it is impossible to be sure about any of this.

Home EKG rigs are getting more and more affordable. It could be so interesting to measure brainwaves during different states of consciousness. On the other hand, purchasing one of these definitely involves an unsustainable civilisation squeezing out yet more material goods… Hang on, where did I put my fiddle?

Listen to Sunset Over a Seizing Civilisation.

Cora Venus Lunny is Cassandra Voices’ Musician of the Month for July.

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