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Somerset House Residency

Somerset House Residency


July 24, 2017

This past Sunday I had the privilege of showcasing my work exploring the relationship between sound and scent to a packed crowd at Somerset House as part of my residency during their summer exhibition Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent.

 

Bottles of fragrance before mixing

Bottles of fragrance
Photo Alex Ford

The Residency, which took place together with the talented composers Roman Rappak and Alexander Parsons in the Givaudan sponsored Perfume Lab, investigated the relationship between both fragrance notes and musical notes. Two components utilised in our collective work with Miro Shot – a project which aims to fuse live VR together with live music and sensory feedback to create an immersive reality concert which is experienced as part interactive music video and part live concert.

Both fragrance and music share a language describing their structure from notes to chords and harmonies to compositions. All of course blended on an organ. Like Aldous Huxley in a Brave New World we want to take the experience of scent and music to a new audience. Rappak and Parsons composed musical chords in direct response to my work live mixing fragrances to an audience.

 

Alex Parsons composing musical chords to match fragrance

Alexander Parsons finding musical notes to pair
Photo Alex Ford

My work in fragrance revolves around the notion of telling stories. For the residency we created a short story entitled Riot - an existential piece about an observer watching a wave of discontent building through a crowd culminating in unrest. Told through a combination of notes including Isoraldeine 95, Amberax, Rose Oxide, Cashmeran, Castoreum and Lemon that were paired against randomly triggered noise sources from a modular synthesiser, gnarling, but melodious synth motifs and carefully selected field recordings sourced on the day to create a dissonant narrative that built and managed to capture the audience in the energy much as the pulse of a enthralled crowd can pull you along.

 

Miro Shot in front of a full house

Roman Rappak, Timothy Han and Alexander Parsons in-front of a full house
Photo Alex Ford

The end result was a unique and transitory fragrance that was experienced against the sounds of a plethora of spontaneously programmed electronic instrumental layers. an experience for the moment limited to those in the audience before the release of Miro Shot’s studio album CONTENT which is being released early next year on Believe Records and Warp Publishing.

 



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