Five Versions of Reality

John Young

Five Versions of Reality has been performed in Birmingham, Columbus, Helsinki and Vienna…

To Jonty Harrison

Five Versions of Reality is a cycle of short acousmatic spaces, each of which is created around fragments of field recordings that I have made in different parts of the world. They are linked by a similar formal approach to the use of the field recordings—as ‘windows’ on a lived sonic experience — but also by the presence of a set of gestural figures that take on different musical roles and functions within each. The aim of the work is not to present these as programmatic or poetic evocations of each of the locations. Instead, I wanted to frame the recordings as small flickers of memory: to offer a sense of listening vicariously in a plausible space. This expresses my own view of the significance of field recording in electroacoustic music: as aural documents they lay bare the materiality of and timescale in which sound events unfold, detached from the actual experience of them.


Five Versions of Reality was premiered on October 20, 2013 at the University of Coventry (England, UK).


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