Floodtide – FON Air micro-commission (2012) / Workshop & concert (2014) / Performance at FON 2015
Floodtide by John Eacott makes music from the movement of tidal water. A submerged sensor gathers information from the tidal flow that is converted into musical notation read from screens or mobile phones by musicians. In April 2014 we marked the installation of a permanent sensor at Trinity Buoy Wharf in Docklands, which allows live notation from the Thames to be streamed constantly from our website. Alongside this, the Floodtide Listening Post, a mechanical music machine made by sculptor Andrew Baldwin, is now installed permanently at Trinity Buoy Wharf, making the music audible to visitors. The piece has now been performed over 20 times at venues including Trinity Buoy Wharf, The Roundhouse, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Thames Festival, Southbank Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Ensembles have included classical musicians, taiko drummers, and members of groups such as Tomorrow’s Warriors and Voice Lab. A full performance of Floodtide lasts around 6 hours, starting at low water and ending at high water, although shorter versions have been staged. The piece is a kind of ambient work in which the audience may drift in and out of the music, returning later to see how it has changed. No performance of Floodtide is the same, with the music being constantly affected by environmental factors such as wind, air pressure, rain, and even passing boats. Floodtide is a sonification of tidal flow.