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Flashes and Occultations

by Jack Hayter

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Flashes And Occultations

i was asked for a 77 minute pedal steel improvisation, but I wanted to create a transient sound sculpture from the identification patterns of distant lighthouses, buoys and light vessels; to convert their flashes and occultations into small voltages using telescopes, light sensitive resistors and photodiodes, then to use those derived signals to trigger samples and control analogue synths.

I was overambitious and my experiments were largely a technical failure. I also got cold and muddy while recording foghorns. Worse still, those supposedly unique and exciting light patterns often turned out to be "one flash every 20 seconds" or "red occulting thrice every minute on a Tuesday."

Then I ran out of time.

So I improvised Iazily around some field recordings instead, playing along on a pedal steel using a Sharpie instead of a steel bar. At the same time Pete Bentley kindly gave me a thirty two year old Kawai 8bit digital synth...so horrible and yet so right...the only keyboard I used.

Many thanks to Oliver Cherer and Riz Maslen for adding oscillator, harmonium and vocals. Oliver and Jeane recorded some bedtime lighthouse talk. I cheekily emailed the brilliant Aoife Mannix, who I once met during my short career as a bad poet, asking if she had a lighthouse related poem. She promptly sent me ten great ones and I used most of the one called "Quiz."

What you hear is a plan B. It's second best; a cowardly collage evoking lighthouses, but not a brave sonic transcription of their actual output. One day I will get round to re-attempting that original plan ...or perhaps you can? It's good idea...but wear thermals and waders.


released July 8, 2017

Jack Hayter:Everything apart from:
Riz Maslen: Vocalisation
Oliver Cherer: Harmonium, AF valve oscilllator
Jeane Lancaster: Bedtime ghost stories.
Poetry: "Quiz" Aoife Mannix
Artwork: Andy Dean


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