The Arnage Sessions

The Arnage Sessions

Music by Haworth Hodgkinson

High Moss HM 014 (70:40) • Released 22 September 2017

All music composed, performed and recorded by Haworth Hodgkinson in 2017

Cover from a photograph by Haworth Hodgkinson

Album © Haworth Hodgkinson 2017

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The Arnage Sessions

Frank and Tilly are two cats who live in Arnage, a rural area of Aberdeenshire not far from me. Normally they have humans living with them to ensure they are fed and watered, but in April 2017 they sent their humans on a trip to Ancient Greece to write poetry and stories on tablets of silicon, and in the mean time I was called in to keep the food bowls topped up. In their house was a rather splendid electronic keyboard instrument, on which I recorded the series of improvisations that forms the framework of this album. The improvisations are very simple, mostly single melodic lines with little or no accompaniment, and they are presented here unedited. I recorded seven of them, so I decided to name them after the days of the week. In the process of putting the album together, two were rejected, which is why there is now no Arnage weekend.

In between the improvisations I have placed four pieces in which all the sounds are made by the two cats and their resident garden blackbird, subjected to slowing, stretching and layering, to contrast with the simplicity of the keyboard pieces.

Arnage Monday (2017)

The first keyboard improvisation is a single-line right-hand melody, accompanied only by a little octave doubling towards the end.

Frank and Tilly's Dinner (2017)

This piece is made from the sampled sounds of the two cats eating their dinner, their collar bells clashing against the ceramic food bowls as they eat.

Arnage Tuesday (2017)

In the second improvisation there are right-hand and left-hand melodic lines, though for the most part they alternate without interacting.

First Elegy for Frank's Blackbird (2017)

A blackbird sang outside Frank and Tilly's house most evenings, and I made a few recordings of its song. A few weeks later, I am told, Frank brought the blackbird into the house in a distressed state, and it sang no more. I made two small elegies from my recordings.

Arnage Wednesday (2017)

This improvisation uses some of the percussive sounds the keyboard had to offer. The texture is much busier than in the other improvisations.

Second Elegy for Frank's Blackbird (2017)

My two elegies for the deceased blackbird are each just one minute long, to reflect the high-speed brief lives that birds live.

Arnage Thursday (2017)

The right hand returns to melody in the Thursday improvisation, not always a single line, whilst the left hand provides an unchanging rotating drone accompaniment.

Tilly's Game of Coincidences (2017)

Tilly sings, purrs, rings her bell. I sample these sounds and play them back into ever-expanding reverberating spaces, with a little bit of magic added to the reverb as the piece proceeds.

Arnage Friday (2017)

In the final and longest keyboard improvisation we return to a single melodic line in the right hand, with the left hand simply repeating an open octave.

Notes © Haworth Hodgkinson 2017.

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