SUPERMARKET variations 1 + 2 /
LP / digital - out June 2022
Two 14 minute pieces extrapolated from a 14-minute field recording of Sainsbury’s supermarket, Chingford, London at 17:26 on the 16th October 2020. The supermarket is given the means to compose its own music, through systematic manipulation of the recorded material.
In the original field recordings, checkout scanners produce staccato, pitched tones as the cashiers scan shopping Items. This cloud of scanner tones is accompanied by the resonant mechanical drone of the conveyor belts, as well as momentary events such as the metallic collisions of trolleys. These three elements (tones, drones and events) form the basic material for the pieces, which follow the exact shape of the original field recording.
Variation 1: Hard Disk Recorder / Digital Sampler
Variation 2: Piano, Bowed Piano, digital sampler and Ring Modulator
In Variation 1, the elements are separated into layers using film-sound restoration techniques. These separate layers are allowed to render out a systematic compositional interplay, modulating each other in pitch, time and timbre: automated supermarket musique concrète.
In Supermarket Variation 2, the supermarket is given sound tools commonly used in 20th-century classical electroacoustic music. The field recording is precisely reconstructed by performing the scanner tones on acoustic piano, while the conveyor belt drones are sounded by bowing clusters of piano strings. These separately recorded elements are used as the sources for cross processing, using analogue ring modulation and digital pitch/timbral distortion. Each element is responsible for the changes in the processing of the other elements.