“Alien” sounds: Chorus by Ray Lee

Ray Lee is mesmerizing the nation with giant metal constructs that produce otherworldly sounds while rotating their wide arms across the audience. Chorus is one of the newest installations by the award-winning sound artist, the full version of which will be touring around the country later in 2013. Lee admits in the video interview that one can read many different things into the physical constructs: “They become… tripods from Mars… they have a whole series of different references to people, they look like things you see on airports, these radar things…”. He says that it is due to the objects’ simplicity they can be seen so differently. Yet, one can stop wandering what the tripods with loudspeakers are altogether, and get carried away by the sounds and the spinning red lights, slowly inducing trance (beware!).

If you now think that Chorus is just an abstract mess, then you could not be more wrong. According to Lee’s description, the loudspeakers ’emit precisely tuned musical pitches creating a pulsating, harmonic drone’. The harmony gets thicker and more intense with every moment, yet has an uplifting effect even in the video. Imagine what it would be like to really stand beneath these Martian towers…. or try it out when they start touring?

watch Chorus

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Chorus premiered on 23rd November 2012 at Oxford Castle Gardens.This performance was part of the first phase of the project and was co-commissioned by Oxford Brookes University, Corn Exchange Newbury and OCM. It was sponsored by Attwooll Associates.

Ray Lee is an artist, composer, and a performer as well as being a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. One of his most famous works up to date is Siren which has been seen by both home and overseas audiences. In December 2012 Ray Lee won the British Composer Awards ‘Sonic Art’ category. Congratulations!

 

Text by Kati Jagel

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