Sound:Vision – Ed Scolding and Peter Groom collaboration

13 October 2014

Inspired by PULSE, our major commission this year, we have once again joined forces with with IdeasTap, this time to create Sound:Vision, a new initiative offering five young filmmakers and five composers the chance to create their own short film/music collaborations. We recently caught up with two of the successful applicants, Ed Scolding and Peter Groom, about their resulting work, Brut, which will be screened in London later this year.

SCOLDING Ed PIC 2sqED SCOLDING, COMPOSER

When we first met to plot out the project, we agreed to base the new film on one of two existing recordings of my music – Air Unfolds or Torque. Since these pieces already stand on their own and we saw the film as a new, separate creation, I wanted to give Peter the freedom to use these recordings as he needed, to choose whatever in the recordings was useful to him, and if necessary to collaborate in editing or processing the recordings – whatever was needed for a stronger film.

I wanted to give Peter meaningful access to these pieces, to open up my music to him so that he could connect to my ideas, as the starting point for him to take forward into the new work.

Having discussed the pieces together, I wrote detailed accounts of each piece, plotting them like a script or storyboard, describing what I felt the moods were, what I had been imagining, how each moment related to previous moments, any physical performance features that might connect to movement in the film.

The decision was to go with Air Unfolds – used verbatim, as the original concert piece. Listen here.

When I wrote this piece, I was imagining a single point continuously moving, tracing a line as it moved, jumping and slipping between different people, sometimes latching to bring several people together, sometimes reaching each person only for a moment.

PETER GROOM, FILMMAKER

Taking inspiration from the title of the project SOUND:VISION, I was keen that each have their own identity as two separate things coming together to make something new. I didn’t want to create a choreography that was set to Ed’s music or create movements that would highlight or frame his composition. We set out instead to create a layering of images with sound; in the hope this would make something new for the viewer, that they may not necessarily have imagined just by listening to the music or seeing the film.

I tried to create a dream like structure, where images could repeat, fall back in on themselves or be seen again but slightly changed. We spoke a lot about freeing ourselves from a narrative of music and we tried to avoid creating a visual that would be story and focused on allowing the music to be the story with images coming in and out, like a dream or a remembering of something.

I began to listen to the music alone. I played it whenever I could for about two weeks, in the morning, last thing at night. I wanted to hear it as many different ways as I could. I started to write questions the music posed to me; ideas of reaching, longing, coming together, parting. These would form the beginning of questions I would ask the dancers to respond to in rehearsal.

During rehearsal we listened to the music very little, I didn’t want it in our heads as we worked. I wanted to create something with the dancers and then let what we had made meet the music later on. We spoke a lot about what people do to get rid of loneliness or to find tenderness/connection.

Once we had created the scenes we began to film, still free of the music, often filming one scene in many locations to give ourselves as much choice as we could for the edit. Then there was something new I had never experienced before. On stage, because it is live you finish the piece with the dancers still there, they are there at the dress rehearsal and at the premiere! But with this project once we had finished filming they left and what I was left with was bits of things still unfinished and you just watch these bits on a little screen and have to find a way that it works together.

I began by sifting through this material, searching for how it could hold together as a piece. The key was moods; creating moods with the images that could then be ordered to take us on a journey. Tenderness, care, loneliness, helplessness, confusion, passion.

Early on in the process I had asked Ed to write what he saw in his head when he listened to the pieces. He responded with ideas of tracing lines or a type of movement; he created a sort of guide that was so useful as though we were not recreating his plan, it enabled us to navigate our way through the moods in the music. So it was with these moods of images and Ed’s map that we began to slowly piece the film together.

I really hope you enjoy the film. I hope the visual doesn’t give you everything, but that when it is seen with music that it adds together. If either the film or the music seems strange or vague, all you need do is listen or watch and it will tell you.

Related pages

OUR MEMBERS

George Benjamin, composer, conductor, teacher, programmer: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2011.

DID YOU KNOW?

The early directors and concert conductors were given tickets made of ivory to gain them admission to Philharmonic Society performances.