Coventry Cathedral

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.

Anna Palmer and Andrew Spackman



Andrew Spackman - Biography

Andrew Spackman is an electronic musician and artist working in Birmingham. He has been making and releasing music since 1997 under various pseudonyms including the Zoom Quartet, Nimzo-Indian and SAD MAN.

SAD MAN music has been played on BBC Radio 3 - Late Junction, BBC 6 Music, Resonance FM, The Freak Zone, NTS Radio, Zradio, New New World Radio, Radio Free Matlock, Brum Radio Sleeve Notes Sessions and Future FM.

His music has been reviewed in Electronic Sound Magazine, Monolith Cocktail music blog, Mojo Magazine and the Wire Magazine.

Andrew Spackman collaborated previously with Mark Springer from Rip Rig and Panic and has created remixes for Dorcha, Steeling Sheep, Vula Veil and the High Llamas.

Full SAD MAN catalogue is here:

As a visual artist he has previously exhibited at The Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre; The Ethnographic Museum, Krakow; Aspex Gallery; The MAC, Birmingham; Herbert Art Gallery; BMAG, Birmingham and he was short listed for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Anna Palmer – biography

 A composition graduate from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Anna Palmer is a composer & musician exploring experimental song writing through 5-piece Birmingham band - Dorcha. The band is Anna’s current primary focus.

For Dorcha, 2017 saw a live performance on BBC Radio 3 Late Junction & appearances at Flatpack Film Festival, Supernormal & Supersonic Festival. In 2018 they toured the UK in promotion of new single ‘Bruiser’ (supported by PRSF Women Make Music). A set on BBC Biggest Weekend was broadcast live on iPlayer with a subsequent video release on the BBC’s Youtube of the track ‘Crimson’. BBC Radio 3 Late Junction & BBC Radio 6 Freakzone continue to champion Dorcha with various airplay. Dorcha are currently working on a new album set for release in 2019.

As well as creatively leading & managing Dorcha and other previous commissions, Anna works as Programme Assistant for Capsule who curate the internationally renowned Supersonic Festival & Home of Metal project. Anna is also a visiting tutor in the Composition department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

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Anna Palmer and Andrew Spackman