Here (But Not Here) is the new project from composer Max Richardson, a work of sound-art that aims to act as a sonic time capsule chronicling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The work is formed of voice recordings of real people from across the globe telling their story of how they’ve been affected by the pandemic in their own words, sculpted into a narrative highlighting common themes between people from completely different walks of life – and even different continents.
“The idea for this project came during the height of 2020. I was out of work due to COVID, and speaking to friends and family about this strange, shared experience gave me a kind of epiphany moment – everyone has their own, separate story to tell about how the pandemic affected them.”
The work was commissioned for Chester Bandstand’s online programme, funded by Cheshire West & Chester Council, which led to Max starting a callout for people to share their experiences via a voice recording. The callout received an overwhelming response, resulting in over three hours worth of audio files from across the globe.
After receiving the recordings, Richardson sifted through them to trim the work down to an appropriate length, and listen to any common themes so as to form a narrative for the piece.
“Hearing about the range of ways how the virus has impacted us all has been a strangely
comforting experience – it’s so nice to know that you’re not alone.”
Once the work had started to take shape, further sonic material was added to the soundscape, with Max adding field recordings and a sparse musical background to help shape the work into a singular, cohesive work. The tracks of the project are taken from quotations inside the piece.
“I’m truly honoured and humbled to have been entrusted with people’s personal stories and experiences in this project. I hope that I’ve been able to do them justice in the finished work.”
Here (But Not Here) explores themes such as mental health, isolation, and unemployment – alongside more positive themes such as the growth to have come from the pandemic. The work includes over twenty participants from across the globe, curated by the composer.
“It’s been really exciting to see and hear how Max’s original pitch has evolved into a really special body of work”, says Luke Moore, Creative Producer for Chester Bandstand. “Spoken accounts, sounds and music are delicately intertwined and the result is a poignant reflection on the last 2 years”.
Here (But Not Here) is released on Friday, March 18th.
For any further enquiries, please contact Max at firstname.lastname@example.org