Land of the Sirens - Section 2: The Subsections


Land of the Sirens - Section 2: Structural analysis


Section 2 consists of fifteen subsections, several of which overlap. In the discussion that follows, when a new subsection (N) has already began whilst the previous subsection (P) comes to an end, the letter ‘o’ (overlap) is used next to the subsection (P) end time indication, in order to clarify that a new subsection has already started. At the same time, when a new subsection (N) begins before a previous subsection (P) comes to an end, the letter ‘ω’ (omega) is placed next to the subsection (N) start time indication, in order to clarify that even though a new subsection has started, the previous subsection is still audible. When the sound event of a new subsection (N) is a continuation of the sound event of the previous subsection (P), with no observed overlapping, the letter ‘c’ is placed next to the subsection (N) start time indication. The abbreviation ‘σ’ (meaning: to be continued) is placed next to the subsection (P) end time indication respectively.


The transformed floghera textures in the second section are of four types: 1. static drones superimposed by birds’ soundworlds attacks – onsets  (high-pitched sounds/fast-speed movement); 2. static drones superimposed by birds’ soundworlds attacks – onsets (low-pitched sounds/slow-speed movement); 3. static drones superimposed by birds’ soundworlds attacks – onsets(high-pitched sounds/slower-speed movement); and 4. static drones superimposed by birds’ soundworlds attacks – onsets (high-pitched sounds/moderate-speed movement).


Subsection 1 (11:50 – 11:56). Transitional between sections 1 and 2; spectral emptiness; static movement; allows the work to breathe and proceed to section 2. It also allows the gradual introduction of a totally new soundworld environment.


Subsection 2 (11:56 – 12:08). Transformed floghera bird-like textures.


Subsection 3 (12:03ω – 12:14). Water textures.


Subsection 4 (12:14 – 12:41). Rain falling on dry leaves (foreground) / subtle continuous floghera sound with superimpositions of transformed bird textures (background).


Subsection 5 (12:41 – 13:03σ). Church organ upbeat steps, transformed sound textures (smooth anacrusis) leading to whistling-sound shapes emerging from transformed church organ textures, that gradually fade-out whilst subsection 6 has already started. The transformed floghera textures are still present and gradually make their presence more prominent (from 12:43 onwards) as they form the fundamental material for subsection 6: (12:49 – 12:56) and (12:58 – 13:01). Owl-like sound textures28.

Subsection 6
 (13:03c – 15:57o). Transformed floghera sounds which mostly contain low-frequency material: (13:09 – 13:14). Low frequency owl-like sound textures in slow motion. Spectromorphological emptiness is mainly present, with occasional smooth high-pitched floghera soundworlds layer additions observed. Spectromorphological plenitude is not achieved in this section though, as the smooth high-pitched floghera layer additions revert back to spectromorphological emptiness instead. These gradual transitions between spectromorphologically empty and slightly more filled-up spectral spaces are defined as smooth spectral fluctuations, and their duration varies from one second (instant) to few seconds (continuous): The use of smooth spectral fluctuations (e.g. 13:29 (instant) and 14:19 – 14:25 and 14:50 – 14:55 (continuous)) adds an element of suspense/expectation to this subsection. In addition, low-pitched sounds are mainly present. This subsection was created as a contrast to a subsequent subsection (9) which contains higher-pitched transformed floghera sound textures, characterized by spectromorphological plenitude.


Subsection 7 (15:10ω – 16:07). Dry wood crackling sounds (natural/unprocessed) and floghera fadeout. This subsection reintroduces the wood crackling sounds of Section 1 in their natural form, with no implemented transformations. This subsection is characterized by structural stasis (created by the repetitive wood crackling sounds of similar volume level and occupancy in spectral space) whilst intensity is built each time a wood crackling sound event is presented. Cyclic motion through repetition is observed in the introductory part of subsection 7 (15:27 – 15:36). For this part, during the recording process in Entwistle Reservoir, the sound of a dry branch hitting a group of dry branches in equal time intervals was captured, to imply inherent energy.

Subsection 8
 (16:07 – 18:24σ). This is the only subsection in the entire work which consists of micro-chaotic spectromorphologies:

✓    Scratching29(16:11 – 16:55).

✓    Crackling in gelatin presented in parallel with the scratching sounds. The word “gelatin” is used to highlight that the sounds are seemingly moving within a space filled with a dense liquid (16:27, 16:33, 16:37 – 16:40). 

✓    Crackling from the inside (16:44 – 16:49).  

✓    Slippery30 / dinging microelements (rapid motion) (16:54 – 17:02).

✓    Divergence/Convergence and simultaneous linear ascent/descent (17:02 – 17:07).

✓    Smooth Anacrusis (16:50 – 16:54) leading to the rapid motion of the slippery/dinging microelements (16:54 – 17:02).

✓    Smooth water drop texture (17:20 and 18:00).

✓    Pointillistic ticking sound events in non-rapid motion (17:18 – 17:19).

✓    Friction/Resistance (mutually rubbing spectromorphologies) (17:32 – 18:00). These spectromorphologies are present in concurrence with other layers.

✓    Ascending contour (17:44 – 17:50 and 23:59 – 24:07). 

✓    Descending contour31  (17:15 and 17:24, 17:46 – 17:4732 and 23:50 – 23:56).

✓    Ascending bubbling spectromorphologies. These do not sound like water bubbles, so this term merely refers to their motion (17:49).

✓    Pitched drops (17:54).

✓    Static smooth background pitched layer (18:05 – 18:08 and 18:12 – 18:20).

✓    High frequency resonant throw/fling (18:22).


Subsection 9 (18:24c – 23:37o). A major subsection of section 2 and the richest in spectral space occupancy. The transformed floghera material partly sounds like birds and partly sounds like mysterious voices. In addition, it provides the listener with information about the location (place/space) via the bird-like textures, and represents the mythological action (Sirens’ voices). The floghera textures are characterized by high spectral density and prolongated continuants. The superimposition of higher frequency fading in and fading out in rapid motion over the high spectral density floghera spectromorphologies of prolongated continuants creates an aspect of resistance as well as the bird-like textures/Sirens voices. The superimposition of higher frequency floghera textures in rapid motion leads to spectral growth by adding to the exterior, thus exogeny (e.g. 19:35 – 19:56).


Subsection 10 (20:15ω – 20:37σ). Gradual appearance of water textures of rapid motion, leading to subsection 11. This sets the ground for the reappearance, in subsection 11, of rapid motion spectromorphologies from section 1.


Subsection 11 (20:37c – 23:03σ). Reappearance of rapid motion spectromorphologies from section 1. These spectromorphologies are a result of a number of superimpositions of different layers from section 1. This unifies the piece as a whole, due to the direct reference to material used in section 1. In addition, floghera soundworlds from subsection 9 are still present but gradually fade out (dissolving). Contrast is created between the rapid motion spectromorphologies of section 1 and the floghera soundworlds. The spectromorphologies from section 1 become significantly sparser towards the last few seconds of this subsection, whilst they are superimposed over high frequency floghera spectromorphologies. This creates a counter-endogeny (deflation) in the textural motion (22:55 – 23:03).

Subsection 12
 (23:03c – 23:33). The last appearance of floghera sound textures in the work. The characteristics are the same as in subsection 10, although the volume level in this subsection is lower.

Subsection 13
 (23:33 – 25:27σ). This subsection starts with the use of the characteristic slippery/dinging spectromorphologies (23:32 – 23:50) which were previously presented (16:54 – 17:02). Micro-textures from previous subsections of sections 1 and 2 can be observed: (24:06) repetitive dry pointillistic ticking sound textures in rapid motion from section 1 and (24:07) pointillistic ticking sound events in non-rapid motion from section 2. Ascending and descending textural motion is characteristic in this subsection (e.g. descending 23:50 – 23:55 and ascending 23:59 – 24:06). From 24:11 – 24:28 dry unprocessed crackling wood sounds are present. Smooth background textures from section 1 are also explored and transformed background piano soundworlds with no attack – onset (e.g. 25:03) create a feeling of release.


Subsection 14 (25:27c – 25:38). A short subsection characterized by spectromorphological emptiness with soundworlds from section 1 heard at a distance in the background. This subsection leads to Subsection 15 which is highly contrasting.

Subsection 15
 (25:38 – 27:00). The ending of the work utilized superimposed material from the entire piece. This subsection is characterized by the use of processed church organ intervallic pitches (25:40 – 25:50) creating dilation (becoming wider or larger) and contraction (becoming smaller, 26:05 – 27:00). The beeping sounds which appeared at the beginning of section 1 make a brief appearance towards the end of the work (26:39 – 26:47).


28Rhythmic sound textures consisting of a repetitive inharmonic sound element of brief duration. Each element is characterized by dragging textural motion. These textures have a high resemblance to soundworlds produced by owls.

29Soundworlds characterized by reciprocal motion. These soundworlds are perceived as being dragged onto a dry surface.

30Flocking with a small amount of resonance.

31The opposite to ascending contour (downward motion).

32Present concurrently with the ascending contour (17:44 – 17:50).


Land of the Sirens - Distribution of sound objects in Sections 1 and 2.


In terms of structure, both sections 1 and 2 have the following sound objects in common: water soundworlds (e.g. section 1: (1:37 – 1:38), 1:39 and 2:06 and section 2: 12:04 – 12:14), bell sounds (e.g. section 1: 3:03 and section 2: 26:00), beeping sounds (e.g. section 1: 0:19 – 0:56 and section 2: 26:39 – 26:47), dry crackling wood soundworlds (e.g. section 1: 4:36 – 6:05 and section 2: 24:11 – 24:28) and repetitive dry pointillistic ticking sound textures in rapid motion (e.g. section 1: 1:22 – 1:27 and section 2: 24:06). On the other hand, the following sound objects are only present in section 2: floghera textures (18:30 – 23:30), pitched drops (17:54), transformed church organ soundworlds (25:40 – 25:50) and slippery/dinging microelements (23:32 – 23:50). In addition, in section 1 only, stone soundworlds are present (e.g. 3:18 – 3:27), as well as guitar sound objects (e.g. 3:46) and dry wood sound objects with pitched resonance applied through Cecilia’s Harmonizer Module (e.g. 0:50 – 1:07).