|Composer||An electroacoustic composition by Colin Bright|
Available on CD at the Australian Music Centre
The 'Children Overboard' affair is the exemplary case of a government controlled propaganda exercise which inaugurated a systematic process of suppression of information - lies - deception and racial vilification.
'It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.' - Joseph Goebbels
'Nation, rise up, let the storm break loose!' - Goebbels - speech in the Sportpalast, February18, 1943
'The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one.' - Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf 1925-1926
'I don't want in Australia people who would throw their own children into the sea - I don't. I certainly don't want people of that type in Australia - I really don't'. - Prime Minister Howard
'Children were thrown into the water. They've also got film'. This can be a conduit for extremist terrorist groups'. - Cabinet Minister Reith
'A child had been thrown overboard'. People - who clearly are not refugees' - Cabinet Minister Ruddock
An election was approaching in Australia in 2001. The Australian government accused asylum seekers - referred to as 'boat people' - of throwing their children into the sea in order to gain entry to Australia. They were also accused of being potential terrorists. They used the 'children overboard' lie to incite racial hatred within Australia which was directed at asylum seekers and Middle-Eastern people in general.
Asylum seekers were placed in detention centres such as Woomera - in the desert of central Australia - where they were assigned a number, by which they were referred to instead of a name. Conditions were particularly harsh and they were, and still are, treated as criminals, many suffering severe psychological damage.
The government won the ensuing election.
One of a set of pieces which integrate the spoken word, acoustic instruments, players with improvising abilities, electronic instruments. These are pieces which pull no punches. What each piece has to say is done in a direct and sometimes confronting way. They invoke the voice of the repressed, the underdog, the dispossessed.
These electro-acoustic pieces, or studio pieces, as I think of them, are related musically through the integration of my own stylistic techniques with some aspects of more popular musics, (e.g. rock/techno instrumentation), and, thematically through the socio-polital material (voice/language), giving the music its emotional thrust.
All the 'voice' samples of politicians, refugees, and commentators are taken from the public domain - radio and television.
The recorder was the chosen instrument of the Hitler Youth Movement.
As well as being a world renowned chess problemist and a composer, Ian Shanahan is a Grandmaster of recorders.
This piece utilises the full range of recorders from bass to sopranino. The recorder plays, at different times, the role of interjector and commentator - the outspoken voice of the protagonist, the fanciful swoop of a bird in a flight of freedom, and the mournful cry of the disenfranchised spirit.
Quarter tones are used frequently creating fragmented speech-like utterances. They are also used chromatically to create seamless fluid runs at very high speed. Quarter tones, too, create a human voice-like quality in the slower 'wailing' section.
Multiphonics - colourful discords created by unusual fingering techniques - are interwoven throughout the music - and have a particular function when used against descending inverted minor triads.
Some passages are beyond the possible, involving up to four different recorders over several octaves with no time at all to change instruments. This is intentional, and I regard this music as an electronic studio piece - not able to be realised 'live' without much simplification. Part of the idea, also, is to take a very old instrument into the electronic age, where, I must say, I think it sits very comfortably.
The recording was made at the Colbright Studio during December 2003, on a PC with Logic Audio, and edited and produced by Colin Bright.