A Score for A Hole In The Ground

It is always interesting to see peoples careers develop in interesting ways, and that theory sure applies to Jem Finer one of the founding member of the Pogues. Since leaving the band in 1996 he has gone on to develop some inspired sound art & installations, including a piece of music, appropriately called Longplayer which is designed to play for 1,000 years without repetition. When I checked just now it had been playing for 2982 days, 4 hours and 54 minutes – you can tune into a stream here

One of his more recent projects is an environmental sound installation in a forest in Ashford, Kent, UK

“A score for a hole in the ground” is essentially a water driven musical instrument buried beneath the ground & amplified via a 7 metre high steel horn. As water slowly trickles into its sounding chamber, the drips hit metal splines creating percussive tones…

Here is a recording from the project website
listen to mp3

From an article in the Guardian the artist elaborates on both the inspiration and intent of the project: “The starting point was the suikinkutsu, a Japanese water instrument. In Japan, rhythm was traditionally conceived of as obeying the unpredictable qualities of nature, like water dripping from a roof. The suikinkutsu is a literal manifestation of this idea: a buried ceramic pot containing a small pool of water forms an acoustic chamber into which water drips. The delicate sounds of water falling on to water percolate upward, creating a subtle, beautiful, minimal music. Honing one’s ears to catch these sounds, the sonic landscape of the surroundings is brought into sharp focus – leaves, rain, birdsong.”

“The frequency of the drips and their size define the phrasing and dynamics of the music. Too many, too often and the composition has no space. Too few and it evaporates into isolated sonic events. The solution lay in using a garden hosepipe, the kind designed to irrigate flowerbeds and vegetable patches. Drips seeping through a bed of loose stones maximise the randomness of their location and occurrence, breaking up the possibility of predictable rhythm and timbre.”

What a beautiful event it would be, to stumble across this work of art with no prior knowledge!

listen to mp3


One thought on “A Score for A Hole In The Ground

  1. Pingback: Score for a Hole in the Ground, an environmental sound installation by Jem Finer

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