“Blood on my Hands”

I had meant to post here more now, as the new Inscape film, Roots, takes shape. I wanted to talk about my thoughts as we work on it.

Well, we are working on it now, and I’ve just seen Rosie’s first rough test clips from her garden studio, which are lovely.

My job at this stage is far more boring, as I have to figure out how to remote record a small group of children with varied accents while we’re all locked down for Covid-19. Right now, I think it will be tricky, but I am lucky with my connections, so who knows!

It’s hard for me to do more than keep up with existing creative/professional commitments right now, though, as I home-school and care for my two children. Please bear with me.

In the meanwhile, I extracted the whole soundtrack to episode 20 of The Hidden People, ‘Blood on my Hands’. In the end, I was proud of my work on this and what it added to the work as a whole. You can listen to the music in this episode and more of the show here: https://hiddenpeoplepodcast.com/

On its own, much of it is quite ambient; parts are emotional, parts contemplative, but all of it has the same character’s music going through it like a heartbeat. I found it rather meditative to listen to in these strange times. Maybe it is a good companion for you too. I hope so!

Inscape and Escape – discussion on the making of Suspended

Welcome…

… if you are with me to follow our discussions on Resonance FM’s International Women’s Day programming!

I’ll be around today for answering questions in the comments section here.

The numbers in brackets are times when we talk about the image you see, for those of you listening on Mixcloud.

And here is a link to Suspended. https://youtu.be/6b61EbMrido

Do also catch it at the Draw Art Fair in May! https://www.drawartfair.com/about

– Katie

William Kentridge (1:50)

Opening sequence … “its own, dream-like, reality …” (4:00)

Snapshot - 4
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“Sparse, shrunk-down to pain and black and white …” (5:25)

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“… I always think of a sharp pain as a flash of white … vixen screams … tendril things …” (5:35 – 7:34)

[film’s narrator] … they started by hitting our feet with a stick, again and again…

“… ney flute … warm sheen … when the son is crossing the son is crossing the river …” (7:50 – 9:26)

… between our village and Lebanon there is only a river…
… so he crossed the river…
… and went to Lebanon…

“virtual synth patch from the beeping alert [of the dialysis machine] … continual merging and changing … never a point of conclusion …” (10:05 – 11:04)

… by this time…
… my kidneys were starting to make me feel unwell…
… my wife has mental health problems…
… she is on a lot of drugs now…

“… the click click click sound – I was trying to compare it to an old fashioned shutter slide, as a new chapter begins …” (10:40 – 11:14)

He didn’t want to join the army…
… so he shot himself in the leg…
… when my son returned to the army, the accused him of trying to avoid national service…

“… the piano was being a tolling bell quite a lot, going ‘dung dung dung’ in the low notes …” ­čÖé (11:30 – 12:24)

…we were now in a war; unrest was everywhere…
… he lay there, dying, in the street…

“the main theme … derived from me trying to reflect … where Rosie’s drawing the dialysis machine with lots of wires and strings … that ‘stringy‘ tune, the twining, wind-y, rising and falling intervals of a 6th …” (12:25 – 14:05)

“… that’s not the sort of thing you normally get to do … to be able to generate the opportunities for the sound to tell the story … with the prison sequence, it’s so dark … but you can hear an awful lot of the prison …” (15:12 – 16:23)

… they tied our feet to the ceiling…

“… [the kestrel sound] introduces a real note of panic … the whole feeling of fear comes across very strongly in that scene …” (16:45 – 17:05)

… we were always afraid…
… we were in terror…

“… almost a kind of amnesia to the film, with these repeated sequences … the daughter at school, the son in prison … it feels like someone trying to grapple with different memories …” (18:50 – 19:55)

… we paid a bribe … (multiple repetitions of this image and phrase)
I wanted to make sure my daughter got an education. Now she speaks English. But she doesn’t teach me any!
… when I was a restaurant owner, I used to take a pot of coffee [around the village] … everyone knew me!
… being a stranger here is a rather bitter feeling…

“… a series of deliberately ambiguous sounds … the fact that he was living in both past and present at the same time … the sound of the pouring coffee became the rain in the gutter … the rain led to thunder, which turns out to be a bomb, so back in his memories in Syria again … one big plane of existence, nostalgia and present day suspended reality …” (19:55 – 20:25)

… would I go back to Syria? Under the current regime, absolutely not! But if the regime changed then, yes, I would return…

“… that British scene of people rushing past buried in their mobile phones … perhaps all our lives are suspended …!” (21:30)

“One of the most powerful bits is how long we sit on his face as he watches his son get hurt … I fade in a bit of the original speaker … it was such a sad room, there was so much heaviness … and I feel that comes across in that little snippet of audio …” (23:00 – 24:54)

… this was so very difficult … the hardest thing I have ever had to do…

“… the final sequence … in Rosie’s images and in the more emotional music than we’ve had, this is our – hopefully quite tactful – comment: we’re saying, “this is how we feel about it” …” (25:00 – 27:38)

Inscape and Escape on Resonance FM

I have some news!

The team who made Suspended, Rosie Wyllie, Catherine Henderson and me, have secured funding for a second film. We have decided to call our group Inscape, after Gerard Manley Hopkins. We think this reflects our specialism of exploring social themes through the subjective experience of the individual, using drawn stop-motion animation and immersive sound and music.

The film will be called Roots and will explore human migration from early history to the present day in a more holistic, poetical way.

Roots is due to release in the autumn. I will be blogging on my processes as I approach the soundtrack, but it is likely to use human voices – children to the elderly – in speech and song.

In the meanwhile, Resonance FM has programmed what looks like an exciting day of programmes this Sunday 8th March for International Women’s Day – and we are part of it!

We will be discussing the artistic and collaborative processes as we made┬áSuspended – and Catherine’s cat, Dotty, made some valuable contributions to the discourse! Our programme is at 9-9.30am UTC, but will be available on Mixcloud afterwards if you’re not in the UK or if you like a lie-in on a Sunday!

Use these links to access this broadcast:

https://www.resonancefm.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/182152949710713/

‘Dreams are Fragile Things’

The penultimate episode of the season!

This draws on lots of familiar music, but there’s some new stuff towards the end, too. Interesting to score disorientation… but I will not say more about that in fear of spoilers.

Sounds include me jumping off my own kitchen table – I’ll leave you to imagine the graceful athleticism – and, once again, the former trained singer was brought out of retirement to do something spooky.

https://daytonwritersmovement.podbean.com/e/dreams-are-fragile-things/

Our film is released

Good morning, everyone. Our film is out.

Please, please share widely. Our purpose, and that of the witness who told his story, was always to raise awareness about why resettlement is necessary sometimes, and about the nature of the Syrian regime.

Many thanks to all the many people who supported us.

This was made in association with charity Herts Welcomes Refugees.

Please be aware that it is a harrowing testimony: see the warning in the description.

Even more on The Hidden People… episode 15

The new Hidden People is released and is perhaps the most fun I’ve had with sound design yet! I also really enjoyed writing musical comments to weave with the sound throughout.

Some geeky facts:

– At the time of writing, this was the largest ever digital audio project I had built, with 244 tracks (though reduced to a mere 237 after directors’ notes!).┬áThis has just been exceeded by episode 18, however…

– Fenrir’s tooth extraction was a 20 pence piece scraped on a brick. The tooth fairy had just visited one of my sons so I did think about using a real tooth, but it seemed a bit gross.

– I got to combine 6 different themes from the series in one continual piece of musical underscore in the last few scenes, keeping one beat going throughout, to give the sense of an inevitable pull towards an outcome.

– The seagull you hear as Mackenna and Shaylee abseil down the cliff was from a crazy, prolonged, determined quest for one while on holiday on the Dorset coast in April. It took a lot of time to get one close-up, but it was a beauty. I had no idea when I added it to my sound bank that our seagull friend would be immortalised so quickly!