Scott Gordon - Relief Tours
A composition of treatments for adapted piano harp and electric guitar.
In 2016, I managed to salvage a piano that belonged to my brother and had spent four years sitting in a garage. Getting it home nearly killed my van. The first objective was to strip the harp and mount surface transducers to it with the hope of being able to excite the strings and ultimately explore a tuneable sympathetic reverb. After a lot of trial and error, workable results were produced which became the foundations for Relief Tours.
The album was recorded over six months or so with tracks typically centering around one or two objects - some kind of treatment for the piano and improvisations on electric guitar. Experimenting with the objects is never something I’ve been particularly scientific about by any means, nothing more than the basic sequence of continuing to develop the best results that had emerged from the previous experiment. Concepts were typically very simple e.g. getting percussive overtones from the piano strings. My usual approach is to sketch some possible methods then just begin, so in this case it was tugging winds of horse hair and then settling on an angle of about 30°. This produced the deep bell like sound that can be heard on Benthic Salvage.
Certain sounds would often dictate the course of things. For example, the juddering of a rubber ball being dragged down a smooth surface would, in turn, result in trying to recreate the same percussive movement on the piano harp with a car spring and some big magnets, which then went on to provoke something else and so on. The results would influence the next decision and eventually a track would begin to take shape. Each track hosts a small group of related ideas like this with the tonal work often being the last stage - improvised reactions to the textural parts.
The physicality and movement of the sounds, and the instrument-like properties that came from experimenting with objects, both sonically and tangibly, were really the driving force behind the record.