Process in Progress, PJ Harvey.

A snap shot of  music production, a short forty-five minutes of what can sometimes seem an endless process. This is an alien environment to most visitors, few of which will have first hand experience. The set up serves to make the audience comfortable in the familiar white cube.
“I want it to operate as if we were an exhibition in an art gallery”  PJH
Entering the white cube or installation space. PJ sits in a goldfish bowl filled with an array of musical instruments. Four other musicians are present along with two sound techs. Furtively I sneak glances at people either side of me hoping to take cues form them on how to engage with this ‘art installation’. Because that is what it is. It doesn’t feel like music. It is sound exploration.
Along the rear wall there are ‘art works’ or artefacts/objects framed and illuminated. Scrawlings on paper, dashed out at a feverish pace. Notes on notes. These pages add more to the sense of witnessing a moving painting and the creation of art.
I wonder if they are aware of our presence. Despite having been told that they can neither hear nor see us we continue to move around stealthily in what has become a hallowed space. Creation happens here. We move like silent, unseen and unheard ghosts. There is a sense of experimentation here that has been forced to take the shape of something more familiar so as not to alarm.
I feel connected to the earth and toil listening to the soundscape. There is a heavy tribal reference in the repetitive and circular sound being created by them. Deep and guttural. Using the most basic instrument, the voice, makes the music accessible, not needing to have specific musical training. I join in under my breath, so as not to be hushed by the silent mass around me. The rhythmic circulation is infectious.
PJ’s experiment serves to widen understanding of the collaborative nature of music production, groups of cogs whirring together in a machine, without the smallest, seemingly insignificant cog, it would be unsuccessful.
Art and music are inextricably linked in this “piece”. A very unique experience, if you had the chance I hope you took it.

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