The approach to this scene was very different to the last one. The material we already had to work from was large but much less focused than what we had created for scene 1. This meant that at first it was important for us to discuss what we were trying to really achieve in this scene. This scene is also much harder to connect with as there is no real narrative to the scene, it is just a description of the plantation.
We began by making a word list on what we thought described the plantation. This is below:
Mirror, Isolation, Vanity, Slave, Repetition, Fragile, Brittle, Regular, Decontextualised, Domesticated, Prisoner, Immigrant, OCD, Traumatised, Stockholm Syndrome, Constructed Reality, Hypnotic Factory.
This combined with Olivers visual explorations from the previous workshop, the libretto, and the music already written gave us the ground work for a conversation over what this piece should include.
Key decisions over the style of the piece were:
- There should be no polyphony. The plantations has many voices talking but they are all saying the same thing, disconnected from each other.
- The music should make use of homophony, canon and synthesis.
- There should be elements of distortion – the plants are constantly mirroring back on themselves leading to a distortion/echo chamber, and the also cannot hear the other plants around them clearly due to their roots being cut –> distortion.
- There will be a beat, it will be in 4/4. In this way it will emulate a nightclub/factory feel.
- There is no narrative but we will look to develop the sensation of running out of water – a kind of winding down before being fed/watered again.
- The piece will not have a beginning/end but be a cyclical process. It will loop back on itself.
We also discovered through online research that the edge of land, between rainforest and plantation, is an area of research. It is a particularly tough habitat and the prevalence of these edges (segmenting of rainforest) has a strong impact on potential biodiversity. This is already in keeping with the ideas generated about the edge of the rainforest from the first workshop. These were that the edge would be impenetrable to the rainforest. They would not hear or understand the sounds coming from there and it would be more like a white noise. We listened to some different pieces of music and sound design from Oliver’s catalogue, our own piece and other artists:
We focused on the idea that the opening to this scene would include this white noise. Almost like being on the outside of a nightclub which would then suddenly turn into a very clear song, as soon as the audience’s perspective enters the plantation.
After listening to what Oliver had already written for the plantation we decided that the best parts to keep were the vocal lines, but that they did not need to be developed so far or have so much variation. In order to retain this sense of repitition we cut some of the final verse vocal lines and decided to replace them with a repitition of previous lines.