2005, video projection and live/pre-recorded music (three vocalists)
Video: Mark Melvin
Music: Adam Melvin
“Three Glimpses for vocal trio”, electronics and video represents the first collaboration between brothers Adam and Mark Melvin and the Juice vocal trio. A piece that is essentially about perception, fragmentation, evanescence and familiarity, the piece explores the interaction of text, live and recorded music and visual image to create a work that is both musical and visual, live and synthetic, theatre and cinema, concert and installation. It consists of three short pieces (Scarface, Exposure, Hide & Seek) which, when stripped down to their bare bones consist of the same, textual, structural and dramatic thread. By exploring and varying the roles each component part has to play, each piece, in a rather elusive way, plays on the audience’s sense of space, time and expectation. Rather like Auster’s “New York Trilogy”, the result is the re-telling of the same piece three times, albeit in strikingly different ways. The videos for each piece are made up of short fragments of footage form three pre-existing films from different film genres (in this case, “Brighton Rock”, “The Seachers” and “War Games”) that are loosely connected by the ideas of mobs and the sinister. The chosen footage consists exclusively of points of ligature between scenes, or ‘incidental’ moments from the existing films – rarely do we see any actors or ‘scenes’ as such – prompting the audience to try and place the film or conceive their own narrative around what they see; shadows, landscapes and close-ups all add to the elusive nature of what takes place. The text used is inextricably linked to the film content. “Scarface” consists of fragments of text from the novel, “Brighton Rock” by Graham Greene while ‘Hide & Seek’ uses fragments of dialogue and song lyrics used in “War Games”. Again, the choice of fragment prompts only a vague link with the novel/film itself; the words have a sense of genre but their exact origin is more elusive. Indeed, the subtle transformation of the text over the course of the three pieces forms its own external process. The text for ‘Exposure’ is a hybrid of fragments from lyrics by The Smiths and Joy Division and Johnny Cash. This has little to do with the original film used and is more about providing a meeting point between the first and last pieces.
Musically, all three pieces employ the use of three live female singers and a spatially diffused electronic sound part (made up entirely of vocal samples by) that both supports and interlocks with what takes place on-stage. Stylistically, the music for each piece aims to capture the text and ‘feel’ of each film while providing a clear, linear structure. Furthermore, it seeks to provide a spatial counterpoint to what takes place on screen through simple techniques such as close mic recording and overdubbing which expand and fragment the size of the ensemble. In a way, the three singers on stage function as much more than live performers – they form the visual, theatrical and spatial centre-point around which the entire piece revolves. The end result is three works that feel as disparate as they do connected, as complete in themselves as they exist as part of a larger whole.