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The Imaginings Ensemble session
Patrick Carpenter and an ensemble of musicians met one Saturday in May 2023 to improvise around the theme of Imaginings. The session resulted in a selection of evocative tracks that are scattered through the latest issue of Unpsychology Magazine.
This multimedia piece was produced for Unpsychology Magazine, issue 9.1, Imaginings – published in July 2023. You can download the first volume (9.1) of Imaginings from HERE, FREE of charge, and buy a paper copy for £10 plus postage (link to be posted soon). You can find more video, sound and multimedia pieces in the Unpsychology 9 Imaginings Section of this Substack.
The Imaginings Session - commentary by Patrick Carpenter
The players: Ania Crawshaw; Donna Matthews; Emilio Reyes; Patrick Carpenter.
The remit was simple :- get together in a room, my room, my glorious, tumultuous, extraordinary, tiny room, crammed with everything and play. We'd done it before. Many times, actually – brought together by a vagabond blind man who wrote astonishing music. But this was a little way different. We were to make it up – channel the thoughts and feelings that arose – whatever arose – and record it. Bare naked. Ania, Donna, Emilio and I.
I had planned to start the session with some breathing exercises but forgot, maybe caught up in the whirl of the arrival – it was so good to see them all in the same room at the same time, those lovely faces – so we arranged ourselves around my newly discovered microphone array (the same one I used to record Sophie McKeand's piece: a tried and trusted, cheap as chips stereo pair – Behringer B5s (40 quid each!) – with an Audio Technica large diaphragm condenser in between) and started to talk about what to do: Games? Completely free? Time limited? Inevitably, we just started... Emilio started (Track 01) and Ania joined.
For me, it took a little time to open up. I fell back on patterns and processes that I thought would 'work' and started to get a headache - the trying pushed me further away from the place I wanted to be, where the magic happens, the place in between dream and reality, the place where I am, really. Hence the headache. I can feel it now a little bit. It took mystic Donna's lead to draw me into the flow (Track 3) - she suggested using our voices: direct contact with the most human of things. I believe (as does Anthony Storr) that music originated from the proto-conversations between a new born baby and its mum and when we sing, we sing from that place, learning techniques to guide and shape what comes out. Whatever my belief, my shell cracked.
So then came the games (Track 12). Rules. Funny that. Find freedom and then cage it. Maybe I became terrified and had to exercise my control. Maybe. But the game was:
- only 3 people playing at any one time:
- person #1 starts with very spacious, repetitive idea:
- person #2 interlocks with that motif:
- person #3 does whatever they like:
- person #4 can't start until person #1 drops out:
See how long it goes on for. Most were quite short.
And then we went modal (Track 19)
Imaginings Ensemble - Tracklist
Note: the tracks are listed in order of recording. Curation means that there may seem to be gaps in the tracklist! This is intentional! The players in the Imaginings Ensemble were Ania Crawshaw; Donna Matthews; Emilio Reyes; Patrick Carpenter.
For the full Imaginings Ensemble session playlist on Soundcloud go to https://tinyurl.com/5n87774r
Patrick Carpenter: Musician, b. 1970: London, SE1. Posh cockney living afloat. Today, saxophone. Other days, saxophone too. Other days still, digital files. Some days, saxophone, flute, percussion, drums and digital files. And what glorious days those days are. Jam packed with sound and music joy for hours and hours.
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