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For Amplified Clarinet & Fixed Electronics


Rudy Percival Composer

Heather Roche Performer

Premiered March 2021, Online

The phrase, “Uncanny Valley” is characterised by the perceived ‘dip’ in emotional response that people have when encountering an entity that is almost, but not quite, human. The most common examples of this phenomena would be a human-like robot, or perhaps a prosthetic limb. The focus of this piece is to explore the relationships between human music production, and mechanical, and push them to a place that might sit somewhere inside of the “Uncanny Valley”.


Collaborating with clarinettist Heather Roche, she and I undertook a remote recording session where I asked her to play and sing a number of different pitches using various techniques (and to record her breathing). I then isolated these gestures and electronically sampled them, creating an ensemble of ‘Heather Sampler Instruments.’


The piece itself is intended to sound slightly unsettling. It is formed entirely of sounds produced by Heather, featuring a live performance part for her, and a fixed electronic part (made from manipulated ‘Heather’ sounds). Both parts begin somewhat unified, then gradually diverge, becoming more and more chaotic. An apex is reached, after which the music settles into a final, rather alien texture, as though it has arrived on the other side of the valley…


This entire project was rehearsed and recorded over Zoom, and Heather and I are yet to meet in-person.

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