Ann Southam: Noisy River


After years of writing electronic music, Canadian composer Ann Southam abandoned the tapes and tracks and focused on more classically-inclined pieces. Noisy River is a piece for solo piano that features on the album Pond Life. Much like her style throughout the years, Southam’s approach to Noisy River lies in the genre of minimalism. Small bites of music repeated and staggered to create varying effects sits at the core of this hypnotising work. 


The Music

As the title of the piece suggests, the elements of Noisy River derive from a constant state of movement from the piano. Largely based around the note A#, the piece builds up textures by layering slightly different versions of the same theme. The effect is a ripple of noise that becomes more intense the further into the piece you go. The start of the piece starts higher in pitch, but by the time Noisy River comes to its conclusion, the central pitch is much lower. The organised chaos of this piece is vivid and with the title suggestion, can really make the experience immersive. 


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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