In the very early stages of Permutations prior to our first residency with Aldeburgh Music, we went through a number of sketch iterations which informed how we moved forward in the project. The most significant of these manifested itself simply as a collection of six small chambers, each housing an individual recorded violin part. Through their orientation and proximity, the chambers both contain and project each of the six equal, interwoven contrapuntal lines.
Initially, this was interpreted in a highly geometric form, a literal interpretation of the compositional structure of the music into a symmetrical plan. In this iteration of the project, the listener moves between 6 “hoods”. The variation in the composition is produced through the listener's movement only, within the otherwise entirely equal plan. It had been our intention that the vibrations of the music would pass directly through the material construction of the chambers, using transducers.
After interrogating this proposal, we came to feel that this proposal had a number of inadequacies. Specifically, with regards to acoustic isolation and the unsophisticated, disjointed experience of movement, the audience being expected to duck in and out of these ‘architectural headphones.’