one thousand bird symmetry (anxiety call to wings)

from one thousand birds symphony by GRICE



one thousand bird symmetry (anxiety call to wings)

The track begins with the sound of summer passing, a thousand house martins on the wing.
This sound is so powerful and evocative and draws your gaze up to the skies to witness the precise flight paths of these spectacular aeronauts.
Their collective noun is a richness or swoop - fitting and just.
The aerodynamic shape and silhouette that they produce in the dusk are so perfect.
The sound that they make on the wing is unique and instantly reminded me of a percussive instrument, more specifically the sound of the sagaat, an Egyptian finger cymbal. My dear and sadly departed friend and master percussionist Hossam Ramzy was a fine exponent and I reached for the sagaats that he had recorded for my album Alexandrine.
I paired these with the chattering of the martins and the two sounds felt as though they had always been friends and blended in a pleasing way. (To me anyway)

The martins are interrupted by the alarm or anxiety calls of the blackbird who rules the garden (front back and all around).
The timing and rhythms that they create are unique to the world of birds and do not follow geometry or human divisions or ticks.
I worked with the wonderful cellos of Eliza Carew on these calls. Eliza features all over my last album one thousand birds and her playing is integral and plentiful on the symphony release. There are a number of thematic melodies and motifs that appear on the symphony that were realised on the the one thousand birds album.
The cello marries so completely with the birds wether it be individually struck with alarm calls or more fully bowed and woven around the birdsong.

Eliza remarked that: ‘Somehow the birdsong’s natural character was amplified, and I felt in the quiet moments that I really heard everything, like it was heightening my awareness. Maybe the high frequencies make us listen differently, in a more focused way.’


from one thousand birds symphony, released March 5, 2021


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