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release date: December 1, 2020.
to believe in the octopus, one must have seen it
the octopus is a digital opera that explores the changing aesthetics of the undersea from the imagined perspective of the octopus. While climate change narratives focus most frequently on data about temperature, population numbers, or the material composition of the atmosphere and ocean, this piece ‘listens’ to the environment in order to contemplate the subjective experience of wildlife of their subtly changing environment. It both considers the ‘alien’ nature of life under the ocean, and considers the equally alien nature of life above the ocean to its protagonist.
The poet acts partly as a narrator, guiding the listener through the ocean, encountering text from Victor Hugo’s 1866 novel les travailleurs de la mer, and introducing a subjective reflection on narratives of the changing ocean environment, imagining its experience, expression, and sound. The instrumental group otherwise ‘explores’ the alien and undersea setting of the work through improvised responses to the graphic score materials of the project. The musical environment of the undersea is further articulated through electronic sound as a layered and processed sound-sea-scape which uses instrumental and vocal sounds in unfamiliar, uncanny and unrecognisable ways.
Lauren Redhead: composition, spoken voice, piano, organ, electronic sound
Kat Peddie: poetry, spoken voice
Paul Cheneour: flutes
Maureen Wolloshin: oboe
Alistair Zaldua: violin
Rebecca Hardwick: soprano
3’28” to believe
7’20” god made it
27’02” shadowy depths
30’36” it has no bones
41’40” oh, horror
* Catching Lives is an independent charity aimed at supporting the rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerably housed in Canterbury and East Kent; those who have, for many reasons, fallen through the gaps in society and feel they have nowhere else to turn.