Arine is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘touch’. The piece was created for the Okeanos Ensemble, for a concert at the Warehouse, London as part of Sound and Music’s 2009 Cutting Edge series. The players were Clive Bell (shakuhachi), Melissa Holding (koto), and Robin Thompson (sho). It combines a modified Japanese sankyoku ensemble (substituting sho for shamisen) with live processing that mixes pitch tracking, granulation, grain filtering, bitcrushing, and spectral freezing of sound onsets.

In arine, I was thinking about how live sound processing can transform ensemble processes. The making of the piece centred on discussion, focusing on encounter: initially, each player’s physical encounter with their instrument, and the influence of physical ‘touch’ on musical affect. The word device became useful in thinking about this – in relation to the computer, and to instruments, but also in the sense of  ‘something yet to be revealed’. That the technology of playing leaves something in reserve, yet to be revealed, suggested an aesthetic of restraint.

‘Encounter’ also meant exploring each individual’s personal musical history, teasing-out how the players were drawn to these Japanese instruments. Dedicating time to this allowed the music to emerge from discussion rather than from any prescribed text – the text score reflects that process.

The piece is released on Never Come Ashore.