CHORUS, Ray Lee
Fri 26th and Sat 27th April 2013, Newbury Town Centre
Ray Lee created a mesmeric piece of contemporary music played by a group of metallic sound sculptures, emitting harmonic tones and light. Chorus was shortlisted for the 2014 BASCA British Composer of the Year award for sonic art.
Fourteen five metre high metallic tripods stood in the town centre, each topped by a spinning metal arm holding two loud speakers. The spinning structures emitted beeps and pulsing sounds, with a precisely tuned musical pitch. The audience were free to walk around and amongst them, listening or looking up.
Each speaker had red lights inside which flashed like fireflies, and as night drew in, seemed to draw rings of red light in the air above the audience. The tones emitted became longer and more drone like until the effect became mesmeric and almost orchestral, a sci-fi symphony of sound and colour.
“Because of its nature, because the arms move, because there are lights, it involves people in a piece of contemporary music that they might not have listened to otherwise, and I find that quite interesting," said artist Ray Lee.
“I couldn’t just stand still. I had to wander around. I walked around the whole of the Market Place for most of the performance, just looking up and staring. Not just looking at the objects themselves, but looking at the shadows of the objects that were cast on the buildings around. It was a fascinating experience.”Audience Member
The Chorus machines were designed in collaboration with Scenetec to enable them to function in outdoor locations in all weather conditions. The wiring and finishing were carried out at unit 300, a large warehouse space used for outdoor arts creation, before the current 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space was obtained.
Chorus was created with thanks to the Arts Council England Lottery Fund, PRS Foundation, New Greenham Trust, Corn Exchange Newbury