The gate was singing. It had three holes either from missing screws or where it rusted in the elements. These emitted three different pitches which interacted in an unpredictably pleasant way…I wanted to see if I could do something similar with the cello. Mimic the wind blowing through that gate.
The cello is in the air, a part of its wispy breeze, floating into a space invisible to the naked eye, singing into it. Border Land is elemental music. The cello has no discernible direction, and its field recordings were taken from a road trip to the island of Westray in The Orkneys. It goes where the breeze blows, and this breeze blows through a metal gate – it leads to a lighthouse on Noup Head – and the cello imitates the cool breeze, too, becoming the wind as it snakes first one way and then the other, changing direction without warning.
Embodying the elements, Simon McCorry’s music floats outside of time and barometric pressure, passing through without interference. People aren’t the only ones who can create or conjure music: the sighing wind, a chorus of birdsong, and the rustle of leaves are natural symphonies, and the wind forms a natural kind of music which is impossible to replicate. If a mass extinction were to wipe us out, music would still be playing, providing an aria and helping to orchestrate the movement of clouds over the planet.
McCorry’s sound is one of perfect equilibrium, but it’s also struck with the wonder of nature. Gazing up at a constellation and listening to the night song of the cello uncovers the infinite. We are specks of stardust, glowing in a lost corner of our own Galaxy. Lights sparkle from the cello itself, illuminating different, precious continents. His music makes a vital connection with Earth – friend, supporter, life giver. We should all be aware of how we treat (or mistreat) her. We should be respectful, perhaps, taking careful steps over her soil.
There is one idea that the Earth exists in a ‘Goldilocks’ zone…at the border of not too hot and not too cold. The energies are not so chaotic to fall over into just noise, total lack of information and structure…or…a hole of unchanging stasis. Like the balance of the wind blowing through that metal gate.
Although inspired by a stay in Westray, the music has an international heart. It all flows from a single point, like the wind as it passes through a gap in the gate. Chiming, sometimes screeching and resounding with some of its metallic, rusting tone, the cello sweeps over the landscape. Field recordings become one with the flowing harmony: music and nature are connected as one. The music here goes deeper: with reverence and deep gratitude, and with a deeper concern at what we’re all sleepwalking into. Because of its elemental nature, the music has a mysterious side which is thankfully never resolved or fully understood.
Like the cosmic ambient music of Steve Roach, airy and mystical harmonies float in unknown zones, feeling more like undiscovered nebulae, stretching out over eternity and crossing infinite divides. A long way from Westray, indeed! The Earth is beautiful, and so is her music. Border Land isn’t just the sound of our world. It highlights the human impact upon our home – which is often detrimental – and our footprints upon it.