Fishermen's Lodges © Jamie Mills

Fishermen's Lodges music composition

Fishermen’s Lodges, St. Ives by Jamie Mills

I am delighted to have been invited by Barbara Santi to contribute accompanying sound for the forthcoming film piece 'The Fishermen's Lodges'.

The fishermen’s lodges in St. Ives occupy an incredibly rich space within the heritage of the town; its community, and also speaking with a particular pertinence to this time as I write this within the context of Covid19 - the restriction of freedoms, as well as the defining of new freedoms; I find myself reflecting upon the nature of the connectedness of people, place and community. 

This project is also of particular reward, having been granted access to an inventory of historical archive recordings marking the context of the buildings, and from which to draw inspiration, and make use of within the work. These sonic ‘portals’ are met with an incredible emotional intensity offering a direct connection to aspects of our past that have only aided to form the individual within the context of wider community, as well as that of a more intimate, localised relationship of the individual to place over time. The spoken words of the late St. Ives Bard and poet John T. Barber, ring out like bells, with such timeless clarity and sonority – echoing often shared concerns of these times; politically and globally. They speak of connection through lamentation, as well as hope and resilience. Amongst the archive are recordings of media coverage from the Penlee Lifeboat disaster of 1981. What I am particularly moved by in this recording, at this time, is the solidarity and sensitivity surrounding the event – a community in lockdown so as to be alone, but in connection, to process the grief of the tragedy. Regional, tradition songs also feature within this collection – song goes a great distance towards passing on stories of a generation, of a land, and of a time. These recordings are pure gold, and what these chapters and stories serve to offer up are, in so many ways, the lessons that will continue to move us, and carry us, (societally, and culturally) forward beyond reproach.  

The use of these archive recordings also brings a particular excitement in terms of my creative process as a musician and composer. These recordings have their own unique sonic (textural and tonal) qualities, and as an artist who for the most part relies upon the tonal and structural qualities of instrumental based composition, I find myself embracing the simplicity of the inherent qualities of each of these sounds. These recordings offer up their own emotional resonance based on different layers of their unique voices; each one a portal conveying its own histories. Simply, I am inspired to strip back my usual modes of creation and composition towards an emphasis of using these sounds as instruments. In the process, I will, myself, offer up and integrate my own renderings of sounds – recorded in the context of now, serving to bridge space between the world we are currently inhabiting, and the world, which has evolved, and is forever changing.