Designed by WilkinsonEyre, Aldgate Tower (completed 2014) is an 18-storey office tower that forms part of the first phase of a wider regeneration of the Aldgate East area at the edge of the City of London. The building – on the busy junction of Leman Street and Whitechapel High Street, incorporates an entrance to the London Underground station on its ground floor and is notable for its curved corners and highly reflective glass facade. Behind the building, a new green space was created by closing Braham Street to traffic, as part of the Mayor of London’s ‘Great Outdoors’ programme, which sought to improve the main road connecting the City with the venues at Stratford for the 2012 Olympic Games. Three floors of Aldgate Tower are occupied by WeWork (currently London’s biggest occupier of corporate buildings), which enables businesses to hire office or desk space month-by-month, rather than leasing or buying buildings.
Its been really intriguing for me to think more about musics relation to architecture, and to realise that they in ways, they have a lot in common. Sharing attributes such as rhythm, texture, harmony, proportion, dynamics, palette and structure among others.
So for my response to Algate tower, I wanted to look at the towers attributes and explore representing them musically.
I also tried to relate to how the tower and surrounding area made me feel emotional, and also wanted to use some of the everyday sounds heard around the tower and area .
The rhythm for the piece is based on a 17 beat pattern relating to the towers 17 Stories.
And the 4/4 underlaying beat first heard a 02.34 is meant to represent the 8 pillars found at the entrance to the tower.
I’ve also tried to represent the repetitive patterns of windows/ metal - by the use of repetitive glassy and metallic synth sounds heard thought the piece.
Its so towering and tall when looking up at it first person the perspective bends. Like a words eye view .
I chose to represent this perspective in the pieces temporal by programming the main 17 beat pattern to run expedentially faster or slower, this tempo bending effect I feel also helps represent the curves found in the structure.
The tower appears smooth from a distance and is curved at the corners, but close up the windows / framing that the structure is formed from, appear to me quite jagged and stuttered
I wanted to represent this by using quite jagged sounds working together to build a more overall smooth sound, the bending of the piece temporal also helps reinforce this and relates to the tower curves.
The tower itself reflects light and sound from the nearby streets, buildings and sky.
I tried to represent these reflections by use of field recordings of the immediate area surrounding the tower, in the final section of the piece.
The towers dynamics to me feel compressed, its very bold and minimal, and from the outside only a few materials are dominant (mainly glass, metal and concrete) and the colour palette is also quite basic.
My response to this was to use very minimal palette of sounds, which where all very bold, synthetic and did not vary too much in their dynamics.
I also choose to keep the melodic programming minimal.
The tower is very functional yet modern and stylised.
I wanted to try represent the clean cut style with the use of very clean cut sleek synthetic sounds, and use them in a stylised yet functional way. This is why the form and structure of the piece is quite strait forward.
Kirk Barley, also known as Bambooman is one of the most sought-after, probing and distinctive voices in UK electronic music right now. His highly textural music is formed from studio and field recordings, digital synthesis and musique concrète audio processing techniques. Drawing influence from minimalist music, techno and hip-hop, he experiments with unusual time signatures, just intonation tunings and algorithmic composition, to create a unique and compelling soundworld. Barley has produced six EPs to date, though his past releases as Bambooman are steered towards a dance audience, Barley says his first album, Whispers (released in 2017 via Matthew Herbert’s Accidental label), incorporates other styles that he has long wanted to experiment with.