Meeting the musician Hannah Harvey

After sending me two of her existing compositions which had a jazz feel and really not what I have in mind, and sending her the 4 tracks to give her an idea of what I was looking for, Hannah sent me a demo of a new composition she has created for me.

The first couple of minutes of the demo felt very uncomfortable and disturbing, the short minor chords that ended in what felt like dread gave me an ominous sense which is not at all what I have in mind. It needed more major chords to lift the feel. Also, the beginning and the first few minutes need to change to become an invitation to step into an unknown place and begin to flow into and become immersed into the fluid sensations of movement that follow. The music needs to reflect that.

This demo wasn’t right and as she said she was keen to follow any edit directions, I thought it best to meet in person with her sound editing file so we could go through the track.

When we met, Hannah told me that she plays 15 instruments but was actually a contemporary dancer and had to stop because of an injury. That her background in dance makes her even more interested in this work. I didn’t know about this! It was an unexpected positive fit. I am hoping her dance sensibilities and understanding will help her produce the sound that will work well and reflect, resonate the sensation of dance and movement that I am trying to create in this film.

I told her more about what the genesis of my ideas and my research, how I work which allows me to find my own creative flow and what I have been working with the dancers on. The idea of not representing water but becoming water, when the artist and the artwork become fused into one and the same, even if it is only temporarily and the idea of becoming. She seems to understand and respond well to it, it seemed familiar to her.

I played for her Sigu Ros’ Valtari ( to give her some ideas of how some parts of the music, especially the sparse beginnings work well with movement of the dancers.

We went through the first ominous parts. I told her that the sound needs to be intriguing but inviting and naturally lead into the vista of what is to come, a sense of flow. I asked her to try more sparse melodic cello sounds that would build into the rest of the composition. I don’t want overly dramatic parts that will overpower the attention from the movement of the body as centre stage. I want the film to feel as though the screen is moving into the very bodies of the dancers and the music needs to accompany and complement that. This is how I feel when I watch them film them. I told her to consider how water is part of who we are, in the form of our blood, it is continually flowing in our bodies without us being conscious of it. To try and become aware of and the sensation as she works on the composition. I told her that for me, sound is a very visual sensation, and a very important part of the sensation of creating especially in this film and what I hope will be the sensation of screen in the reception of the it.

I also asked her how she felt as she was producing the music. did she feel at any point engaged creatively and in her own ‘zone’ or was she more trying to do what I need. She said that at first, she was unfamiliar with what I wanted and was groping in the dark. But at some point she began to really get into it and felt in the zone. She said our meeting has made her a lot more aware of what I am trying to do and what I am looking for and excited to continue to work on it.

As she seemed to be getting into her own creative state of mind and production, not just following directions, I thought it would be good for my research, as I had initially hoped, to ask her also to write her reflection on her own creative process.

She will try to send me a new unmastered edit of her track this evening before tomorrow’s filming. I told her not to push herself, I can use again Ruby Mandala for the filming. I am not recording sound, just filming. I will add the sound later when I ‘choreograph’ the edit.

I will meet after I have worked on the rough edit to work with her on the music and she will then finalise the master and send it to me to complete the film.

I’m still apprehensive, until I hear the sound and know it feels right. The sound for me is