Offshore (1991)

Duration: 8’
Electronic work
Choreographer: Chris Carter
First performed at the choreographic workshops at Arts Educational School, Chiswick.

Philip Feeney had worked with the noted Martha Graham teacher and choreographer, Chris Carter, at both London Contemporary Dance School and Central School of Ballet, and was delighted to be asked to create a score for a piece based on another of her passions, deep sea diving. Offshore was a witty and at times offbeat take on the underwater kingdom choreographed for the students of Arts Educational School in London.

Feeney’s score was a vivid counterpart to the colourful choreography, providing colours of its own in sound. It was created on a Kawai Q80 Sequencer using patches from the Roland D550 synth. In addition there were several specially created samples, generated by the Akai S950, designed to evoke the underwater world in sound. The most important one of these is the sound of bubbles, which, divers tell me, is the dominant soundtrack that they have in their heads when diving. Attempts at recording and sampling actual bubbles proved disappointing, as well as too literal, whereas silly vocal imitations worked surprisingly well.

The goldfish section, in which the female turns into a male (a glam-rock male at that!), is accompanied by an aura of high jingling, made out of synth bells sounds and sample brass chimes. As it happens, this proved to be the surprising ancestor of the very delicate music that the composer was to write for the end of the second act of Peter Pan some twenty years later, whereby the distant and magical jingling of bells help to reanimate the fallen fairy, Tinkerbell.