Free Fall

Jonty Harrison

  • Year of composition: 2006
  • Duration: 7:54
  • Instrumentation: 8-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0117414933


ISRC CAD500721440

  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

Free Fall is the shortest piece of the four works which make up ReCycle and, perhaps partly also because of its position in the cycle as a whole, functions as a kind of scherzo.

The image in my mind when composing the piece was that of falling through space — akin to the ‘sport’ of free fall parachute jumping — dropping unavoidably towards the earth, with occasional swirls and tumbles as the jumper is buffeted around by passing gusts of air. No sum of money in the world would be sufficient to induce me to jump out of an aircraft, so I have had to try to (re)create the sensation purely by means of sound and its rapid movement past the listener. Some of the material which flies past in this manner and which we hear only fleetingly is drawn from sources which we might well expect to behave in this way of its own accord. However (and this may also contribute to the scherzo-like character of the work), brief moments from the other three pieces in ReCycle also come flying past our ears, some of which (waves breaking on the shore, the rattle of stones and the revving of car engines) are unlikely to feature prominently during the average parachute jump!

Free Fall was realized in 2006 at the composer’s studio and the Elektronisches Studio Basel (ESB) of the Musik-Akademie Basel (Basel, Switzerland), and was revised and re-mixed at the Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio of Musiques & Recherches in Ohain (Belgium). The piece premiered on October 20, 2006 during the 13th International Acousmatic Festival L’Espace du son (Brussels, Belgium). Thanks to the University of Birmingham and to the Arts and the Humanities Research Council (UK) for Study Leave support; to Erik Oña for the invitation to Basel and for the Max spatialization patch which allowed the achievement of most of the motion trajectories in the piece; to Pete Batchelor and Daniel Barreiro for further Max patches; to the Bartels Foundation for a residency in the Atelier Zum Kleinen Markgräflerhof (Basel, Switzerland); to Annette Vande Gorne for the residency at Musiques & Recherches (Ohain, Belgium). •• Free Fall is the work #3 of 4 that make up ReCycle which premiered in its complete form on May 25, 2007 during the Klangfest festival produced by BEAST at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham (UK).


  • October 20, 2006, L’Espace du son 2006: Carte blanche et concert portrait: Jonty Harrison, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium)