In 2009 Simon Whetham was commissioned by painter Kathryn Thomas to compose a surround sound composition and installation to accompany her Darkspace project, a series of paintings inspired by the infinity of the cosmos, which was exhibited as part of her biggest solo exhibition to date, 'Lightyears'.
Simon Whetham has been capturing and composing almost primarily with field recordings since taking part in a research trip to Iceland in 2005. Since then he has been gaining a steadily increasing profile: recording and exhibiting in Iceland; recording in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil, participating in the Mamori Sound Project; performing at a large number of festivals and events internationally, notably the recent Madeiradig 2010 and Observatori 2011, collaborating with visual artist Hugo Olim; having work accepted for release by labels Crónica, And/OAR, Dragon's Eye, Con-V, Trente Oiseaux, 1000fussler, Mystery Sea, Entr'acte, Install, Lens and Grünrekorder; commissioned by Creative Labs to build a surround sound installation to demonstrate their equipment and software; commissioned by painter Kathryn Thomas to compose a surround soundtrack to accompany her ‘Lightyears' series of exhibitions; producing radio works for Resonance FM, Overlap.org and Kunst Radio Austria; running field recording and composition workshops in Bogota, Colombia; and invited to participate in two residencies at the Art Container in Tallinn, Estonia, the second to compose new work, collaborate with other artists using sound and run associated deep listening, field recording and compostion workshops. This residency has resulted in ‘Active Crossover', a touring exhibition and exchange project which continues to tour through 2011 in four further exhibition spaces across the UK.
The composition was also mixed down to a stereo version, mastered by Scanner, and released on Simon's own label, Traceable Echoes, to be available to visitors of the exhibition. Many other artists heard the work and gave praise to this departure from Simon's work up until that point, as for the first time he had composed with much more musical elements, and an idea emerged. Simon was already planning his own reworking of the raw materials of 'Lightyears', as he felt the brief was very restrictive, and wanted to hear the results of using the same material without these constraints. He also offered the opportunity to all artists who responded positively to the work to produce their own characteristic interpretation of the composition.Here are the results; a common thread is evident, but very individual voices are heard, leading you on an immersive, engaging journey...