@playlist artwork

Crystal Jo Thomas Diamond Light Source

4 tracks, 1.15.43 Jo Thomas on October 07, 2011 13:28

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  • Crystal is nearly 40 minutes long. It has been written for 5.1 DVD as a commission for Diamond Light Source. On the 20th of October it was performed live in the space of the electron storage ring.

    The work was awarded the Golden Nica Prix Ars Electronica 2012 in the category of Digital Musics and Sound Art.

    ''Work and process''
    It is a sound work composed directly from frequencies generated by the electron storage ring, a particle accelerator. The work also uses binaural recording from locations inside Diamond’s experimental hall, storage ring and beamlines. Writing this work, my imagination was sparked from the start. My aim was to write a work of substantial length which reflected both the actual content of the spectrum of the space and also the metaphorical content of the sounds.

    The Diamond synchrotron is a rich multi-spectral sonic environment, with a cacophony of sounds generated by machines which hiss pure nitrogen, pump air from vacuum chambers and cool high-powered magnets. There is never one time where any sound is exactly the same. It is a large space, circular; extremely reverberative, vibrating complex tones from the electro-magnetic and mechanical interfaces which generate the electron beam which travels at near the speed of light. The actual physical space of the synchrotron seems to capture pure human intelligence, concentration and the ability to look beyond what is currently possible. It is light, futuristic and like nothing I have ever seen before.

    Most of the sounds you hear in this work are the sounds of electron injections into the particle accelerator at certain times of the day. This happens on a regular basis every 10 minutes; it is predicable and ever present. The sonic content of the injections is grainy and dry. I choose to listen to the micro tonalities captured in
    the streams of injections developing detailed micro melodies which appear and disappear not unlike the atom injections. The injections are heard in full at the end of the work. I also took binaural field recordings from points in the synchrotron area and I used a selection of these within the work.

    Crystal is designed both for concentrated listening and also for installation. One can walk into the work at any time and capture phrases “injections of a sonic palette” or simply sit down and listen to the whole work. It captures my experience of listening in on the inner workings of the synchrotron. The space itself captures a sense of timelessness, and my aim was to reflect this in the form of the music.
    The work was commissioned and published by Diamond Light Source, composed in the electro-acoustic studios of University of Wales Bangor, with support from a research grant from the University of East London. Many thanks to all involved in making the work.

    Jo Thomas, London October 2011

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