Episode #3 Emily Hall

Up next on excuse the mess is the fantastic contemporary classical composer, Emily Hall. She is a creator of intimate, vibrant sound worlds that pull the listener into beautiful and quite often dark sonic stories.

For this episode I visited Emily at her home in Stroud. It was a really amazing day. We began with a little walk around the Stroud countryside where we met some local dogs and walked across some streams. Our conversation started with her background and drifted into several topics including her upcoming release 'Life Cycle' (Bedroom Community), a song cycle about motherhood featuring Mara Carlyle and Olly Coates. We spoke about Mandel, a new duo she has set up with Misha Law - they have a commission for the Andreas Gursky Exhibition at the Hayward Gallery writing for the London Sinfonietta.

We also discuss a very important topic; the gender inequality issues very much present in the music world. We touch upon this in our initial talk and go into more detail over lunch, that conversation is available as a standalone alone mini episode (#3B) as Emily has a lot of interesting things to say on the subject and speaks from her experiences as a women in the music industry.

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There's also a conversation with David Sheppard (Emily's husband), who is a brilliant sound designer that works on some incredible, large scale projects - including Stockhausen's Helicopter Quarter.  Dave and Emily have collaborated on a number of projects including an upcoming performance of Out / Into.

Most excitingly was the story of the Electromagnetic Harp. An instrument that Emily and Dave built together for the purposes of her amazing concept album/opera, Folie à Deux. It's a brilliant piece of instrumental innovation. I now want one. This is the instrument we use to make our piece together. 

Emily with the totally unique Electromagnetic Harp

Our approach was different to episodes 1&2. We decided to jump right into some improvisations. After several runs we went back and listened to what we'd recorded and basically edited our favourite improv into shape. There were a few overdubs of some plucked harp parts and some tweaks to the electronics. It felt very organic and came together quickly, she was a delight to make music with and the electromagnetic harp is a really incredible invention.
As a result, this episode doesn't quite build the piece from the ground up for you but like previous episodes you will still hear some discussion that took place when we listened back to it whilst working out what to keep and what to cut. 

all photography by max adelman

Listen to all the featured tracks from episode #3 on Spotify:

Please do get in touch if you have any feedback for the podcast!

excuse the mess is gratefully supported by Arts Council England and PRS Foundation

+Thanks to...
Emily Hall
David Sheppard
Bedroom Community
and to Red Dog Music who are offering you etm listeners 5% discount on their online store type in "excusethemess" at checkout.