Borders of the Past

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


'I live in a space between two places and the city I live in has two names....Derry sits upon the Irish border, somewhere between Londonderry and Donegal… and soundbites from British, Irish and Northern Irish politicians converge on notes of uncertainty around this. As I process them, their accents sometimes improbably merge as they circle the problem of how––and where––to draw the line…' (from the concert programme note). 'Borders of the Past' is the third in my 1916 Centenary/Decade of Centenaries series. It explores contemporary post-Brexit debates in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain through processed political soundbites from political leaders from across the various political divides. It includes soundbites from the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny (Irish PM), Theresa May (UK PM) and a number of Northern Irish politicians of various political hues including Gerry Adams (SF), Martin McGuinness (SF), Colm Eastwood (SDLP), Arlene Foster (DUP), Jim Allister (TUV) and two Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers and James Brokenshire. Digital processes involved include granulation, buffer/glitch processes, phase vocoding, spectral blurring/inertia effects and dynamic spatialisation (first-order ambisonics for a symmetrical octophonic array). The spatialisation, juxtaposition and sound shaping processes are intended to highlight points of the disagreement, rhetorical flourishes and nationalistic assertions of these politicians as they struggle to assert their post–Brexit predictions and hopes. However, in the context of Ireland's Decade of Centenaries and post-Peace Process era, many of these formulae are all too familiar! 'Borders of the Past' was premiered at 'Spaces and Places' (Spatial Music Collective and Association of Irish Composers), Freemasons’ Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin, November 27th, 2016. It was subsequently presented at the Imbolc International Festival of Music, January 31st, The Glassworks (Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin), Derry and Staging Sonic Spaces, 9th March, Great Hall, Ulster University, Magee.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherContemporary Music Centre
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Composition type: Electroacoustic composition: multichannel spatial audio
Outputmediatype: multichannel fixed media


  • politics
  • political speech
  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • electroacoustic
  • sampling
  • spatial music
  • Decade of Centenaries


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