FERGAL DOWLING – COMPOSER
Stops II (violin, double bass, organ, computer), 2008
Stops II was conceived during discussions with the organist Michael Quinn about the possibility of collaborating on a piece for organ and electronics. We wanted to make use of the special facilities of the MIDI-enabled pipe organ in St Teresa's Church, Dublin. The organ's MIDI interface enables two-way communication between the organ desk and the computer and allows for the organ itself to be played remotely (including registration changes) by computer. Indeed, the resident organist, Ronan McDonagh, uses the MIDI interface for these purposes. But it is also possible for the organ to send performance data to the computer. In Stops II a computer application is used to capture accurately timed manual and pedalboard movements during performance time.
So we can capture the moments when the organ pedal notes cease - those sounds left hanging in the air just after an organ note has ceased, as well as any other continuing sounds of the violin or double bass. Later during performance we can retrigger those recordings in a new context. The capture of these 'ghost sounds' initiates a self-referencing and re-contextualisation of an emerging new sound material.
Stops II presents itself in a series of discrete sections, each of which is followed by representative samples of 'stops' from the continually expanding sample pool, sometimes heard over other sounded materials, sometimes heard in isolation, and sometimes in accumulated layerings of elusive 'after-sounds'.