"We listen in order to interpret our world and experience meaning.” - Pauline Oliveros, Quantum Listening (2010)
Possible Future : I is a set of compositions that explore humankind's relationship with the natural environment through a sonic lens, and seeks to provide an opportunity for the listener to envision something that would have previously lain beyond the edge of their imagination. The intention of the work is to communicate to people, on an alternative wavelength to the barrage of news articles and doom headlines that we face daily, which are no less important but have their effect weakened by regular exposure, what we as a world are putting at tremendous risk of losing, but for which there is still hope and a reason to save; the natural environment. Across the four pieces, a narrative is told that depicts a potential future for the relationship between humans and the natural word, and is centred around the concept of treating the natural environment as an equal collaborator, as opposed to an aesthetic resource; however, this is not always respected, as is often the case in our contemporary society.
The Last Forest was composed via the process of listening and interacting musically with a field recording. However, the intentional result is in fact the complete opposite, as the synthesisers pay no heed to the field recording, a reflection of today’s society at large, and instead dogmatically pulsate their agenda to the forefront of the soundscape. As a result of this ignorance, the field recording undergoes generation loss, the degradation of quality as a result of copying and transcoding data, until it is reduced to an unrecognisable pulp of digital noise.
A duet with silence, Cry of Terra quite literally reflects its title, representing the cries of the earth that now only reverberate in a barren landscape, whether that be emanating from the earth itself or from its inhabitants, as its life has been decimated.
As with the previous piece, From Within The Solution Lies lacks a field recording, since at this point of the narrative the natural environment remains lost. However, following the rekindled hope at the end of Cry of Terra, a conversation between voices occurs, one plagued with uncertainty and anxiety, the other stern and resolute, yet equally warm and empathetic; this conversation is in preparation for the inevitable struggle that ensues to regain what has been lost.
Ataraxia occurs at both a literal and metaphysical dawn, during which a vulnerable and raw duet between instrument and nature occurs that simultaneously celebrates the successful resuscitation of the environment, and mourns everything that was lost prior to and during the journey to reach Ataraxia. The title, meaning a state of serenity and untroubled by mental disquiet, is here used to conjure an imagined physical, rather than mental, place. The piece was composed in actual response to the field recording (as opposed to the antagonistic approach of The Last Forest), and after the saxophone speaks clearly, it lowers itself to an almost imperceptible volume so as to allow the voice of the duet’s counterpart, the sound of nature, to be heard. This final piece is also perfectly loopable, allowing any listener to reside in Ataraxia for as long as they please.
Tenor saxophone, synthesisers, recording and production: Oskar Jones
Drums: Jack Saxelby-Smith
No post-recording effects were used on either the saxophone or drums, with the exception of overdubbing and reverb in From Within The Solution Lies. All distortion and overtones on the saxophone were performed on the solo instrument.
The album art was digitally created by Oskar Jones, using images of the work of artist Caroline Areskog Jones' recent project tonight rain : tomorrow mud, in which Oskar collaborated for a live sonic response at FILET, London. https://www.carolineareskogjones.com/tonightraintomorrowmud