One of several works composed over the course of composer/performer Barry O'Halpin's residency at UCD Parity Studios, Haltere was created in close collaboration with accordionist Evin Kelly.
A sort of dynamic drone music, this piece invites listeners to sit and experience it up-close and actively, or else passively (perhaps subliminally) from a distance within the reverberant setting of the Science East Building.
The haltere is an appendage of flying insects that rapidly oscillates and assists flight, a sort of organic gyroscope. This concept finds a parallel in the piece's colliding source materials – field recordings of UCD lab machine drones and insect wing vibrations.
The mundane 48hz hums of several lab freezers and vacuum pumps on campus are recorded and transcribed into hypnotic chords on live instruments. In stark contrast to the machinery, the piece derives other chords from the very organic source recording of a vibrating mosquito's wing.
A disorientating and evolving continuum of bends and swells forms around these uncanny yet musical sounds, exploring the unlikely sonic overlaps between guitar and accordion. Machine drones and wing chords interchange and sometimes merge to create eerie biomechanical sonic entities.
Vintage sine wave oscillators from the School of Physics are woven into the performance at several points, controlled in real time by the performers.
Their sonic collisions and glitches are visualised in the warm analogue glow of an oscilloscope, with the mesmerising patterns reflected in the enclosing mirrors of Emer O Boyle's structure.
Barry O’ Halpin is a Dublin-based composer, experimental guitarist and current 2018-19 College of Arts & Humanities Artist in Residence at UCD Parity Studios.
Written for diverse ensembles, his music has been performed in Europe, the US, Canada and Japan at events such as the Bang on A Can Summer Festival (US), Tokyo Wonder Site Festival, and Borough New Music (London).
Recent works have woven vivid musical shapes, sonorities and gestures from the merging of wolf and frog choruses, the colour and motion of cells under interference microscopy and the vibrations of atomic spectra. Known for his exploratory approach to the electric guitar, he has given recent solo premieres in the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin and the MAC, Belfast.
“It wasn’t just tuning that went beyond “confines”. O’Halpin deploys the sonic possibilities of the electric guitar in ways that are pretty much alien to those of its familiar role in rock music. “ Michael Dungan, The Irish Times
He composes & performs with experimental rock group Alarmist, and is a guitarist with Ireland's leading new music group Crash Ensemble. Between these groups, he has performed at Ottawa Jazz Festival, Musica Nova (Finland) and GAIDA festival (Lithuania). He is also a current composer-in-residence with Crash, using his creative research at UCD to develop a large-scale ensemble piece.
Regarded as a thought provoking performer with great technical command of his instrument, accordionist Evin Kelly is held in high regard as an international performing artist.
He holds a BMus and MMus in accordion performance and pedagogy from the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland and is currently engaged in a multitude of musical projects as both soloist and chamber musician.
Past engagements include performances with NYKY Ensemble, Crash Ensemble, Adam Rudolph’s Go Organic Orchestra as well as solo performances in many countries around the globe.
Barry O'Halpin (above) and Evin Kelly during sound checks for Haltere 2019