the M U S I C


A Yird Muin Starn intention was to make music inspired by the night sky, forest living and the sound of it, to give an enriched experience to any star-gazing visitor wherever they might be. Orion’s lament – made with constellation data – Yird Muin Starn

The result was a 44 minute vinyl album of six songs, a poem and five compositions made using constellation data and field recordings :
Yird Muin Starn, available HERE.

During their research, McIntosh and Matthews listened in the forest and explored several potential sonic objects to install there. Matthews proposed tiny wind up speaker systems playing space tunes immersed in a fleece lined wall;  an outdoor sonic bath;  silent holes for gazing;  radio antennae; bothy songs and singing with rich swathes of data driven noise in abundance, finally concluding with the three Sky gazers installed in the forest,  and this vinyl album.

Throughout this process, Matthews made field recordings and back in her London studio selected and processed discrete moments using size and distance of familiar constellations such as Orion, Pleiades and Ursulas Major and Minor to create digital synthesizers and determine pitches, tempo & duration of notes. From this she made such pieces as ‘Orions lament’(playing) and ‘Betelgeuse to Rigel’. She also fed this data into filters and granular synthesis to process field recordings,  making for example ‘Star stream’ and ‘Electrons by Pegasus’. This sonification process was a relatively new field for Matthews but productive, producing material which fed back into their ongoing research.

McIntosh in Glasgow meanwhile was writing text, later sending material south as songs for which Matthews wrote melodies using an Elka accordion-organ and fiddle.  McIntosh’s texts were grounded in her research into astronomy and space related news, such as the discovery of Himiko and the death of Neil Armstrong with lucid inspiration from the likes of Hamish Imlach and Matt McGinn. With Matthews shaping the sonified constellation material into rich swathes of shifting noise and textures and together recording the songs, they have created a sonic map of the artwork and the cosmos, which is at once funny, moving and informative.

The album was launched February 2013  . DETAILS.
Released by Annette Works,  available HERE .

Audio examples of musical experiments made through the project’s process are dispersed within the seven trips made in the RESEARCH chapter as well as below.



Looking Skywards 3

Matthews collaborated with Adam Parkinson on a Max instrument for this sonification process, developing the work they had already begun with salmon and sharks.