Barn Dances

Barn Dances

Music by Haworth Hodgkinson

High Moss HM 009 (66:15) • Released 30 August 2016

All music composed, performed and recorded by Haworth Hodgkinson between 1984 and 2016

Cover from a photograph by Haworth Hodgkinson

Album © Haworth Hodgkinson 2016

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Barn Dances

The two pieces on this album offer my reflections on the rave culture of the 1980s, with its bleepy synthesisers and mechanistic drum machines. I made quite a few pieces using the technology of the period, some more faithful than others to the ethos of the dance culture. These two pieces are among the more extreme, with the equipment pushed to the limits of its capability and sometimes beyond – occasionally you will hear it breaking down as it struggles to cope.

Semiquavers was recorded live in a single take in 1984, and I saw it as a warning of the dangers of the hedonistic excesses of the time. Garden Party has its origins in a piece from 1985, but it has been extensively remixed in 2016.

Semiquavers (1984)

Picture the scene: crowds are gathering at a large barn somewhere in the Scottish countryside, which appears to be a hive of activity. Inside, we see a frenetic non-stop dance underway. The dancers seem to have an endless supply of energy as they fling themselves about the place. As the evening proceeds, a few of them start to collapse in a state of apparent exhaustion, but they rapidly pick themselves up and, perhaps with the aid of a suitable stimulant, hurl themselves back into the action. By the end of the night the barn is strewn with collapsed bodies, but the music keeps going and the resilient few are still dancing as furiously as ever.

Garden Party (1985/2016)

We now move to the chill-out zone. It is the morning after the night before, or more likely it is the afternoon, and we are in the garden of a large house in the Scottish countryside. The house has been converted into apartments to accommodate students, and some of them are holding a party. We see a young couple deeply engrossed in each other's company by the poolside. They are tempted to take a dip, but their youthful inhibitions prevent them as they sense that we are watching. Instead they retreat into a barn, this one much smaller than last night's and comfortably furnished with straw bales. There is an urgency to the intensity of this, their first encounter, as they are all too aware it will probably also be their last. Tomorrow, she is booked on a plane to another country, where she will begin a new life. He will arrive home and express his response to the encounter by making joyous cartoon-like music, which, three decades on, he will use as the basis of a dream-like remix recollecting that blissed-out summer day.

Notes © Haworth Hodgkinson 2016

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