To celebrate the selection of this year’s New Voices cohort, we caught up with all the selected artists and composers for a quick chat.
Here, we speak to New Voices 2020 composer Frazer Merrick.
Can you tell us about your musical influences?
I use field recordings, circuit bending and synthesis to create carnivalesque experiences which explore the act of play. Using lo-fi technologies I transform spaces or objects, encouraging the audience to become a curious performer and embrace play through interactivity, improvisation and collaboration. My musical influences are: Bethan Kellough and how she weaves powerful orchestral sounds with visceral field recordings; Reed Ghazala who is known as the ‘father of circuit bending’ – the art of modifying toys into instruments; and the work of Steve Reich and how he combines field recordings and oral history accounts with his distinct minimalist composition style.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I’m building a body of work around the concept of ‘hidden sounds of play’, exploring frequencies outside our range of hearing such as light waves and magnetic fields, as well as the places where they’re found. This has materialised as work based on exploring places such as arcades and piers, as well as developing my own instrument(s) to use for these trips, including the ‘Photon Smasher’ – a solar panel microphone. The instrument allows you to hear light and create unique rhythms from flashing sequences. Through my experiments I have discovered that different types and styles of lights create different textures, timbres and even melodies as the pulse width modulation of the light source is heard as sound.
What are you looking forward to most about New Voices?
With the support of New Voices, I want to develop these initial ideas into larger projects: developing new instruments; performing new music; and building installations. I want to explore how my current work could exist in different settings, where I could transform objects or places that are linked to play. This would continue my theme of creating carnivalesque experiences and interactive environments, where the audience can become a curious explorer and perform music.
Sound and Music gratefully acknowledges support from PRS Foundation as a Talent Development Partner: