An abstract piece that provides an intimate experience for the listener, encouraging a personal connection with themselves. What happens when the singular most important organ in your body, the muscle keeping you alive is pushed to its limits?
‘Deeper and Deeper’ by Brent Clough was one of the main inspirations for ‘The Heart’, being the first abstract piece that really captivated me. At the beginning it was hard to decipher what the sounds were then gradually evolving. Another piece that encouraged me to push the boundaries of conventional narrative was John Whynne’s ‘Hearing Voices’. The language of the indigenous Khoi and San peoples in the Kalahari Desert is the main soundscape, and this approach to storytelling was a total revelation to me. It showed me that voice and narration are not always necessary to send a message.
‘The Heart’ is an abstract piece, and for the full effect requires the listener to wear headphones for the full experience. I would never have imagined myself ever making something like this, and although I know there are areas of improvement, I am impressed with my creativity and going outside my comfort zone.
Kyla inspired the main idea behind this piece at a time I was really struggling with a concept, and suggested the idea of a running app. So with this in mind, I downloaded the ‘Lorna Jane’ app. As well as mapping out your run on a GPS, “Lorna” continually gives you motivational encouragement and tracks your progress at 10 minute intervals, telling you how far and fast you are moving.
When I tested it out, I found myself wanting to beat my previous time, therefore increasing my speed thus increasing my heartbeat. This is where the heartbeat idea came from.
I mixed these motivational exerts with the morphing of my own voice to replicate the experience for the listener, and make it a very personal journey. Towards the end, where a synopsis of how far the person has run after the 2’36 mark is given, there is one major component I hope goes unnoticed by listeners. It would have been near to impossible to get a clear recording of this on location, so it was done in studio. This meant I had to sacrifice logical distance and time, which is why it says I have only “run about 100 metres”.
I used a mixture of my own recorded and breathing sounds on soundjay.com, and edited these to enhance the experience, and to give varying levels of depth and intensities with timbres and textures.
The heartbeat that remains throughout was found on freesound.org and is the sonic framework to the piece. The increase in tempo not only symbolises change in pace and rise in tension, but also, adds depth to the sonic density. Even though the heartbeat is a constant, its ferocity, I hope, keeps the listener on edge, and gets them thinking, “How much quicker can this get before it stops?”.
The man that runs past increases tension, and is meant to put pressure on the heart to keep up and go faster.
My ending may have been a bit dramatic, but I thought it was really appropriate. Our hearts are incredible organs and keep us alive, yet at the same time, we put so much strain on them through a variety of ways. I certainly take mine for granted, and I see many people running around the park, pushing their limits, which makes me question, what is this doing both physically and internally.
Overall, I am quietly amazed with what I was able to create, as I may not get the chance to do an abstract piece again with such freedom.