Paul Whitty’s nature is a language – can’t you read?

icebreaker paul whitty


Icebreaker will perform a composition by saru’s Paul Whitty on Saturday 5th May, at Kings Place in London. 

Whitty’s ‘nature is a language – can’t you read?’ is a deconstruction of ‘Yo Shakespeare’, by Michael Gordon, which was originally written for Icebreaker in the early 1990s.  One page at a time, Tim Rutherford-Johnson says, the players work through the latter score, but with the catch that they must play the notes of each of their pages in order from highest to lowest. Timbre, note durations, dynamics and – because of the repetitive basis of Gordon’s piece – to a certain extent harmony all remain as before. Yet despite these similarities, everything also appears to have changed. Throwing another process into the mix, three musicians have mp3 players, loaded with field recordings. When a recording plays (they do not run constantly, and the three players are not precisely synchronised), that musician may stop and listen, or try to translate its sounds using their own instrument. When the recording stops, they return to the Gordon derivation music. Whitty’s music often toys with how much of the atmosphere and meaning of a musical source can survive processes of radical recomposition. Here, the question seems to be what ghosts remain of Gordon’s grooves when time has become so disordered.

More information about the programme can be found HERE