SUPERMARKET variations 1 + 2 /
LP / digital - out June 2022
Two pieces generated from musical material found within a 14-minute recording of Sainsbury’s supermarket, Chingford, UK, recorded at 17:26 on October 16th, 2020. The source recording contains music-like material. The material, once isolated, cross-processed and rerecorded, reveals extended electroacoustic versions of itself.
In the source recording (audible in Variation 1), checkout scanners produce clusters of short pitched tones as the cashiers process shopping items. Each checkout has its own distinct pitch. These tones are accompanied by the resonant mechanical drone of the conveyor belts. There are also more chaotic momentary events such as metallic trolley collisions and customer service announcements. These three musical elements (tones, drones and events) form the material for these pieces. Both pieces are precisely rhythmically articulated by the musical events in the original source recording.
Variation 1: Hard Disk Recorder / Digital Sampler
Variation 2: Piano, Bowed Piano, digital sampler and Ring Modulator
In Supermarket Variation 1 (Concrète version), the families of sounds (tones, drones and events) are separated into discrete layers using film sound restoration techniques. These layers are allowed to render out a systematic compositional interplay, modulating each other in pitch, time and timbre.
In Supermarket Variation 2 (piano, sampler and ring modulator), scanner tones are rerecorded 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.