Coventry Cathedral 

Sunrise – Artist Notes

This commission was both exciting and daunting in equal measure. Coventry Cathedral site and its relationship to the night of the 14thNovember 1940 when over 400 bombs were dropped on Coventry, play a significant role in the collective consciousness of the CoventryPeople. The piece entitled ‘Sunrise’ is a symbol of a new beginning, and it was important for us as musicians to respond to this by taking listeners on a ‘reflective’ yet ultimately optimistic journey.

Myself (Andrew Spackman) and Anna Palmer collaborated on this piece and worked alongside Artist’s from Neon and Producer and Broadcaster / Musicity Director Nick Luscombe. Early on we felt it was important to have a conceptual sonic approach that would interact with the light installation in the Cathedral ruins. Our idea was to have an ‘inverse crescendo’. As the Sunrise goes from darkness to light, the music goes from loud and chaotic to quiet and simple. The piece moves through 3 movements which match the emotional states we experience as we awake to a sunrise. Movement 1: Disorientation, Movement 2: Rhythm, Movement 3: Simplicity.

The electronic soundscape and back-bone to the piece was created using amplified human ‘earth hum’ that was processed and manipulated to create textures.

Early on in the project sound recordings were made with local communities asking for what their perceptions of ‘sunrise’ were. These voice recordings were electronically manipulated and are peppered throughout the piece.

Anna’s vocals & lyrics evoke notions of time passing (external), the human mechanisms of waking (body) and the interplay between consciousness and dream states (mind).

In Movement 1 we wanted to represent a highly disorientated sonic space and we wanted to place the listener in a position of hyper-sensitivity. Especially as this part of the music was to take place in a visually disorientating dark space. In Movement 2 we used parts of Beethhoven’s “Moonlight Sonata’s” midi data, which was processed to produce a rhythmic track that encouraged movement yet has unstable timing, often pulling in and out of quantization. In Movement 3 we used cymbals and bowing to produce a slow and lumbering move towards full sunlight, the vocals transition from half-sleep song-speak to 1 clear succinct repeated line, ending the track.

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