big muff

research: Place Theatre London, July 1996

performance: Welsh Eistedfodd, August 1996

materials: Fender Squire guitar, small amp, electroharmonix big

duration: 1 hour

The first collaboration between Simon Whitehead and Barnaby Oliver, this
experimental work was developed through a period of research, supported
by the Choreodrome at the Place Theatre, London in July

A durational work, big muff examined the symbiotic relationship between
movement and sound, sonic and kinetic image. By working in an increasingly
unstable field of feedback, the gravity of a small shift of weight , or
a gesture made by the two performers, created perceived and imagined shifts
in the frequency of a drone. Simply, this sound ecology was created by
the feedback from a fender electric guitar and a big muff fuzzbox, reacting
with a given space. The resultant sound created an undulating sonic soup,
through which the two performers, whitehead and oliver negotiated a route,
responsive to ever shifting states in the mix.

Actions with the guitar and amp, exploring the implications of proximity
and distance from the resonance of the strings of the guitar and the sensitive
chaos of the drone provided a laboratory in which to observe the reverberation
of movement, beyond the physical action, the implications/ resonance of
presence in space and the occasional suspicion of telekinesis.

big muff was performed informally at a gathering of choreographers and
composers at the Place Studios, in July ’96, and as an invited
work at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llandeilo August ’96,
as part of an event by welsh theatre company brith gof.