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noise at the death of one beloved

2022 // 30 minutes

Collage of layered improvisations, recorded 8th February 2022. In memoriam George Crumb (1929 - 2022) "On the 8th February 2022 I recorded sixteen improvisations of between three and fifteen minutes, using the instruments in my home. I then fragmented and layered these improvisations into a collage in five parts. George Crumb's work opened my eyes and ears to otherworldly sounds and shapes; the beauty of his scores and the sensitivity of his writing has stuck with me through years of music making. These contemplative improvisations seem like a fitting tribute to a truly incredible artistic voice." Part IV was featured in BBC Radio 3's Freeness show's New Year episode, 2023


2020 // 41 minutes

"I listen now whilst writing this, distracted by rapid rhythmic hand claps, electronics— the anti-wisdom platitudes of Henry McPherson’s, ‘Intimacies’, are whispered, rhetorical, ‘how soon will you feel different?’, and ‘to end/where did we begin?" - Danielle Watson Hughes, MAP Magazine INTIMACIES an experimental album of improvisation, auto interview techniques, sonic recollections, field recorded fragments, quarantine confessions and synchronised speaking; filled with wordless anti-wisdom, nonsense dialogues and fantasy folk song. The album was recorded in a bedroom in Huddersfield during the first months of the UK Lockdown. It is is a kind of fever-dream auto-interview featuring reversed Thomas Tallis, fantasy and real folksong, spittle, tape recordings from c.1997, voice-cracks and nonsense narratives. INTIMACIES is an experiment in collage and free improvising voicework, attempting to reflect and refract some of the absurdity and isolation of the pandemic into something less overwhelming.

String Quartet
in memoriam Béla Bartók

2022 // 28 minutes

This quartet was composed using a technique of layered improvisations in the studio. Throughout, the work explores physical and sonic fragility, each instrument experimenting with moments of tension, breaking, and collapse (in the arms and fingers, as much as in timbre and shape). The piece invites reflection on and an acceptance of half-ness, in-betweens, incompleteness and being ‘not quite there’, in both sound and gesture. The first movement – “Dark, Tendrilous (like something from the depths)” – plays with the tangling and weaving of microtonal threads. Its meandering, fragmented melodies, recalling shadowy figures from Bartók’s own quartets, are drawn together loosely before winding down and unravelling, never quite reaching conclusions. The second movement – “Crystalline (breaking, shattering, falling)” – is an exploration of texture focused on scratchwork, pressure, and bright, harsh timbres. It is driven by the physicality and sensation of experimental techniques, by the concentrated point of contact between bow and string, the scratch of rosin powder, and the tension of metal and wood. The third movement – “Still, Glistening (like an ocean under starlight, or a sheet of glass)” – moves into a hovering soundworld of ghostly harmonics and flautando bowing, gradually opening into a plaintive chant in four parts.


2019 // 30 minutes

Installed at DESPINA, Rio de Janeiro, BR, September 2018, and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK, February 2019 ​ Colagens/Collages is an installation and accompanying audio album of sonic collages, produced as part of the Open Bodies residency (Residência Corpos Abertos) at DESPINA, Rio de Janeiro, BR, during September 2018. The residency, led by DESPINA and the Fruitmarket Gallery, and funded by the British Council, brought Scotland-based artists together with Brazilian artists in Rio, to work in parallel on projects exploring themes of gender and sexuality. The audio samples used in the project were taken from locations of contemporary and historical importance to the Queer/LGBTQ(+) community of Rio de Janeiro's Zona Sul. Locations included: nightlife venues, places of support and shelter, public spaces, places of celebration, and the streets at day and night. Recordings were taken in the neighbourhoods of: Glória, Centro, Copacabana, Ipanema, Lapa, Urca, Botafogo, Catete, Flamengo, Jardim Botânico, Laranjeiras, and Santa Teresa. During the installation at DESPINA, individuals followed a trail of deer-prints through the gallery space, along a walkway of found sounds from the city. At the door to the upstairs bathroom, the boy (o menino) offered them a key, and asked if they would like to listen. During the installation at the Fruitmarket Gallery, audience members moved freely through the gallery throughout the showing, listening to the sound-collages on headphones connected to pink MP3 players mounted on the wall. Henry McPherson then performed using tiles covering a large banner, on which were written pieces of text collected from the residency period in Rio de Janeiro. Henry gradually uncovered the pieces of text, by smashing and rearranging tiles, while the entirety of the album of collages was played through loud-speakers.

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