Thursday, 26th June 2013 saw the debut performance of The Witching Hour at Woodend Barn, Banchory. The project, inspired by the folklore and dark history surrounding Aokigahara – a dense forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji, was based on a concept by Ross Whyte and choreographed for dance by Thania Acarón.
The Witching Hour is a new series of live events, curated by Ross Whyte, which showcases the best in local ambient electronic music. Sessions will also include poetry, theatre, dance and film. The Witching Hour series will take place at Woodend Barn, Banchory.
On the 25th October, I’ll be doing a late-night live solo set at Musa, Aberdeen as part of this year’s Sound Festival. The set will include ambient electronica and piano and several pieces from The Witching Hour series.
This project is becoming a bit of an obsession. Now that I’ve completed the music, I’m starting to visualise it as a dance piece with video backdrop. Each piece in the Witching Hour offers a response to Aokigahara’s mythos and mystery: “Ushimitsidoki” opens with bell-like tolling, announcing the beginning of the Witching Hour; “Jukai, 2am” begins the work proper, setting a calm and reflective atmosphere; “Signs” takes things in a darker direction with its distorted, ghost-like voices; “Forest Floor” is a pensive, slowly-evolving piece, situated somewhere between light and dark; “The Fire Below the Roots” uses the moss-covered volcanic rock floor as a metaphor for buried memories; “a farewell note, written in pencil” explores the impermanence of life and the artefacts we leave behind; “Resolve” is concerned with the acceptance of death and is, ironically perhaps, tonally unresolved throughout; “Yūrei” is the darkest of all the pieces in The Witching Hour and announces the arrival of the spirits said to inhabit the forest; finally, “Coexistence” concludes with a narrator reflecting on the human spirit.
I’ve now created videos for each of the tracks. In many cases, I’ve used archival footage, including recent animation, as well as some of my own video. The results can be found below:
I recently finished composing the music for a new project, The Witching Hour. As the title suggests, this is an hour-long series of ambient “responses” to Aokigahara (also known as Jukai – the Sea of Trees), the world’s most popular suicide site, second to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Each “response” can be heard below:
I have lots of ideas for where things might go next – including the possibility of setting it to dance.