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Viable alternative (radiophonic music)

by Ian Fredericks (1983)

Audio Sample

From the CD Watt ever.

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Watt ever.


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Watt ever.

Library shelf no. CD 365 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

Viable Alternative was composed as a radiophonic sound-drama. Sounds were recorded from broadcast waves, distorted using various recording studio techniques and combined with other sounds, including
music sequences, which were recorded and altered in various ways. A library of sounds was built up in this way, and the piece put together using multi-track tape recorders, tape-splicing techniques, and a range of
audio-mixing techniques, including stereo matrixing for spatial manipulations. Sounds invoking different images were juxtaposed against one another, both vertically and horizontally, resulting in a kind of collage
on a time-canvas. The trick with this type of composition is to ensure that the work proceeds in accord with temporal rules that are musical in essence. That is, sounds are combined in order to make music-like
phrases which are then combined in contrapuntal ways to generate structures containing 'harmonies' of sound and meaning. The end result is a dream-like sound-structure which in this case is the worst
nightmare, the 'ultimate obscenity'.

Viable Alternative is based on that which I consider to be the most profound event in the history of mankind and the most profound utterance ever to be broadcast: This is one small step for a man; one giant
leap for mankind, which was followed by that statement of awesome simplicity - We came in peace for all mankind. The alternative use for knowledge, science and technology is nuclear war - an alternative which political forces would have us accept as viable. [But] A nuclear war could ruin your whole day. The first version of Viable Alternative was composed for the WATT concert of 1983 and developed into
an audio-visual work. [Viable Alternative also received a certain amount of assistance in its composition, recording and sound-mixing from David Turnbull. In addition to the voices of Jane Fitch, Joshua Fredericks,
Rebecca Lawson (née Fredericks) and David Turnbull, the composer's own voice is heard in various guises throughout the piece - most clearly and poignantly in the soliloquy that concludes it.] {Ian Fredericks, 1996}

Work Details

Year: 1983

Duration: 19 min.

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