Artificial Things



All three of Artificial Things composers have written about their experiences during the creation process…

Chris Benstead talks about the collaboration process of working with choreographer, Yoshifumi Inao for Scene 1 of Artificial Things:

“The process of collaborating with a new choreographer is always a challenging and interesting one. From the outset, working with Yoshi was a calm, creative journey, full of exploration and discovery.

As a composer working for many years with dance, I have always found that the most rewarding way of working with dancers and choreographer is to be present in the dance studio as much as possible. To watch, listen and absorb the working process and to talk often and openly with the choreographer about ideas and possibilities, as well as enjoying the freedom to experiment and try out any ideas that might appear.

With Artificial Things (Scene 1), the sound palette of piano, mixed with sounds generated within the computer, soon revealed itself to be the way forward, matching and reflecting the energy and dynamics of the episodes of the piece. Adjustments had to be continually made, of course, mostly in the form of simplification and thinning out of the musical material so that it didn’t swamp the movement.

I like to think that the collaboration with Yoshi has produced a truly symbiotic experience and one that will resonate with audiences everywhere.” Christopher Benstead, Composer

Jim Pinchen talks about his working relationship with Stopgap and how the music for Scene 2 Artificial Things came about:

“Having worked with many different choreographers I would say that some have mathematic or scientific brains… Lucy is quite different. She is inspired by themes, styles and concepts but creates her best work by allowing time for ideas to be explored, to fail, to succeed, to morph and to take new directions. From the outset the brief for my section of Artificial Things lay somewhere between sound design and composition, with roots in something retro, heavily subverted, slightly twisted, melancholy and quirky. It was always going to be an interesting project.

One section we called ‘Slow mo bad behavior’ and was a little more challenging. The trick here was to keep the retro and quirky feel but present the audience with a different feel, something more modern, ambient and trippy. By the end I presented Lucy with over 15 different variations. The audio clips perfectly summarise Stopgap’s character and love of retro media.

It’s been an experience and a pleasure to work on, what I believe is, Stopgap’s greatest work to date.” Jim Pinchen, Composer

Andy Higgs talks about his learning experience while composing for Scene 3 Artificial Things:

“Over my time working with Stopgap I learnt a great deal as a composer and it dawned on me fairly quickly that working within the field of contemporary dance is not at all like other collaborations a composer might have. For a start, it is quite advisable to leave my ‘composer’s brain’ at home before I go to work. Modern dance is often a world not of bars and counts, but of feeling, atmosphere and gesture.

It is important to check ideas on a fairly decent sound system in a large space, as it will reveal unpleasant or harsh sounds… This can be quite a nerve-wracking moment as it is also the first time your music gets a public airing, but once it has been ‘got out in the open’ everything does seem to possess a new identity. The beauty of an original score is that, with any luck, you can offer a sense of intimacy and connection with the choreographic work that a track on a CD cannot always bring.

This is a terrific experience for a composer at any stage in their career and I am very grateful for the opportunity.” Andy Higgs, Composer

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