• 2. VIOLET (04:55)
  • 4. WHITE FOG (04:33)
  • 5. PRIVATE WAR (05:01)
  • 6. WALNUT (02:12)
  • 7. THE ONYX ROOK (12:50)
  • 8. SNAIL AND CURLEW (15:07)

White Fog


Digital Delays, Bowed Bicycle Wheel, Tape Collage, Violin, Voice – Sylvia Hallett

Three aspects of this remarkable musician's work: Wheelsongs is a 36 minute cycle featuring four original songs appearing within an improvised setting created solely with bowed bicycle wheel and digital delays. The words are the only precomposed material. There is also a violin and voice improvisation (without any electronics or overdubbing), and a tape collage soundtrack made for a dance film. 64 minutes.

Excerpts from sleeve notes:
There are two interwoven strands to my music: improvisation and composition.
Since the mid 70's I have been involved in the London Musicians Collective, and have toured internationally with Lol Coxhill, Phil Minton, British Summer Time Ends and others. The early LMC served as a spawning ground of experimentation. Alongside simultaneous voice and violin improvisation (see THE ONYX ROOK), I started working with found objects.
This foray into other sound worlds continued as I worked with theatre, dance and puppet companies, and now BBC Radio plays. These commissions encouraged the unusual and evocative use of sound-as-music, and I quickly progressed from splicing quarter-inch tape to sampling the sound of pouring lentils into a jar, or scraping roof-tiles (see SNAIL AND CURLEW).
I have also been studying several instruments which generate sound by bowing strings or metal: the Indian sarangi (featured at the end of SNAIL AND CURLEW), the Greek/Turkish klassikkemance, the hurdy-gurdy and the musical saw. The bicycle wheel seemed an obvious extension of this sequence.
In a theatre or dance performance I would often be the only musician, and so began to work with digital delay boxes as a way of thickening, transforming textures and pitch shifting. I started playing the bowed bicycle wheel for a puppet show, and developed it further, incorporating song fragments during a solo tour of Italy.
The unpredictability of other musicians' input is one of the things I like about group improvisation. The bowed bicycle wheel is also somewhat unpredictable. The spokes are not tuned so each one gives a different set of eerie harmonics. Rather like bowing a cymbal, you can never be quite sure which harmonic will sound; it will often skip to the one above or below the one you are trying to play! Similarly the rotary knobs on an old digital delay box are refreshingly imprecise. Some might call this lack of precision infuriating, but I find it stimulating.

Album label: 
Release date: 
01.01 / 2001
Recording date: 
01.12 / 1999
Recording location: 
London 1998-2001
Artwork design : Sylvia Hallett & Tomoko Minamizaki
Executive producer : Martin Davidson
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Mixing engineer : Sylvia Hallett
Producer : Sylvia Hallett
Recording engineer : Sylvia Hallett & Mick Ritchie

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