Sound installation after dark captures the daytime bustle of Brighton Beach basketball court

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, May 18, 2024

Sound installation after dark captures the daytime bustle of Brighton Beach basketball court
Ready to Drop, produced by Artichoke at Brighton Basketball Court. Photo by Matthew Andrews.

BRIGHTON.- Ready to Drop is a new sound art installation conceived and created by Orlando Gough and John Del ‘Nero. Inspired by the thousand twangling instruments that hummed around Caliban’s ears in The Tempest, it is being presented at the Brighton Beach Basketball Court over seven nights from 20 - 26 August.

Whilst walking together through Gough’s hometown last year, the two were struck by the energy, joy, competition, and communication of the court and its users, from basketball players to roller skaters. Ready to Drop is their response to this poetry in sound, field recordings of the collective sounds made by people at play on the basketball court and those of the adjacent dingy stand, the wind and the sea, combined with original composition.

The hour-long sound installation is being played on a continuous loop each night, filling the air with ghostly echoes of the previous day. Ready to Drop runs from after dark until mid-morning, 22:00 - 10.00, surprising local night owls and the early swim and breakfast crowd alongside sound art aficionados and passers-by. Designed for casual encounters and quiet engagement, Ready to Drop melds the urban bustle of the city with the wash of nature, gently displacing the sounds of the night with echoes of the day.

Ready to Drop is produced by Artichoke. The piece is also available in stereo version on Artichoke’s platform on the Bloomberg Connects app.

Helen Marriage, CEO / Artistic Director of Artichoke, says: “I am so excited about Ready to Drop, the first of three major new projects we are producing in the second half of this year. Artichoke is always about the live experience and we want to show how outdoor arts can revive and renew after a year in which we pined for social interaction. Orlando Gough and John Del’ Nero have conceived and created an amazingly subtle and magical work that can be experienced communally and yet with enough space to feel secure. I love the idea of people happening upon and being enchanted by this incidental soundscape on the Brighton seafront in the dead of night.”

John Del’ Nero says: “After dark, when the court is empty, the basketball sounds will be played back, filling the air as if the ghosts of that day were still playing. Sounds of the halyards and rigging will be added. The range of sounds will be extended: on the one hand human sounds - conversations, arguments, announcements, on the other hand natural sounds – sounds of the sea that range from the gentle to the apocalyptic.

Orlando Gough says: “We wanted to capture this cacophony of sounds and translate them into an hour-long composition made from found sound and music. We looked for relationships between these two sets of sounds and made them into music that envelopes the listeners, disorientates them, and makes them look at the landscape again.”

CALIBAN: The Tempest, Act III, Scene ii
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

Orlando Gough is a composer (and sometimes lyricist, librettist, music director, MC, recording engineer, cookery writer), who writes operas, choral music, music-theatre, music for dance and theatre, and creates large-scale site-specific work.

He is currently working on Bloom Britannia, a post-Brexit black comedy opera (Barefoot Opera); Albion, a collaboration with the viol consort Fretwork and the composer Gabriel Prokofiev; and En Route, a site-specific walking piece (Protein Dance Company). He was born in Brighton, lives there, and has just written a book about it, Coming and Going (Uniform Books).

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