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  • Will Davenport

SHIMMER (Music for Augmented Reality)

‘Shimmer’ is a piece written for LSO Violist Anna Bastow, Electronics and Augmented Reality. The piece was commissioned by Brookfield Properties to be part of an immersive installation around the area of 2 London Wall Place (London, United Kingdom EC2Y 5AU).

PLAY: Harmony is an immersive music and art experience which comprises of site specific compositions, involving London Symphony Orchestra musicians and Guildhall School of Music students, alongside augmented reality artworks. The projects marks the second year of collaboration with Culture Mile and the Culture & Commerce task-force in London.

Click here to learn more about the immersive experience and app.

My piece was written for the water feature situated around 1 London Wall Place, and my intention was to capture the illusive beauty of the feature - water and its movement, reflection and refraction. Shimmer uses layers of the viola, and electronics (which are refracted and manipulated live by the viola) to create shimmering textures that feel both static and yet also teaming with movement and energy.

Upon visiting the water feature I was struck by its minimalism and stasis from a distance; the water almost forms a reflective mirror to the local modernist architecture, and yet when you zoom in on the water the intricate reflections are constantly moving. This is what I a have tried to reflect within the piece, through simple chords being held (resembling a distant perspective), and minute arpeggios, harmonics, and dancing electronics adding to the texture (resembling the close-up detail.)



I am often inspired by the work of David Hockney, and have always been fascinated by how he captures water in playful ways, capturing a sense of movement and different visual layers. Hockney carefully balances what we can see: the bottom of a pool, the reflections of the surface of the water, the ripples of water and even the deeper currents of water. He manages to do this with very simple bold shapes and colours and I try to do the same within the music, creating a layered experience.

You can listen to the piece here.

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