(on Artificial Environment No. 6)
"... the music's primary elements are a gently manipulated recording of a field by a motorway, and a string quartet responding idiomatically to the recording. But the intrusion of Bailie's voice suggests that the "transcription" taking place is actually between an idea and the music, or between lying in a field and an idea about musical transcription. These questions crowd the otherwise peaceful plain laid out in the music, revealing an impressive ability to merge conceptualist and musique concrète traditions to convincing effect."
[Guy Dammann - The Guardian 20/09/2011]
"Extremely illusory was Analogue by the Belgium-based British composer Joanna Bailie, a chamber work for amplified string trio and recorded voice that was referred to as a ‘camera obscura performance’. The members of the Århus ensemble Scenatet sit in a highly illuminated room behind the audience and completely separate from it. Via the small hole that links the rooms the movements of the musicians are established according to the laws of optics in the form of abstract inverted shadow images on the back of the empty stage. The theatrical dimension becomes just as tangibly real as it is fantastical and unreal. A gap opens up between sound, gesture and touch at the same time as the shadow images link this together. Analogue is a work that is highly congruous with the theme of the festival and that attunes our minds to conducting a dialogue with space in all its changing configurations. But also a work that is just as powerful in its own right."
[Andreas Engström - Nutida Musik 2 2011]
"The premiere of last year's curator, British-born Joanna Bailie was also generous in terms of what it offered the spectator. Her newly composed work Analogue (2011) for amplified string trio, tape and camera obscura, was the final destination for the audience at the end of the city walk.
The concert took place in a darkened room, which turned out to be the interior of a camera obscura: a dark space where an image of the scene on the other side of a divide was projected through a small hole in the wall. However, this only revealed itself to the audience as an inverted, reversed picture of the three musicians on the back wall. The experience was extreme: firstly, because the ‘realism’ of a camera obscura is impressive and the image it creates almost three-dimensional in appearance. At the same time one can hear the sound that the musicians in the other room produce reinforcing the feeling that we are looking at an unmediated reality. Secondly, the image is only slowly developed as the eyes of the audience gradually become accustomed to the sparse lighting. Therefore, there is a relatively long period where you sense the presence of someone but cannot quite figure out how these people are positioned in the space.
It was only when a voice in the work's auditory part explained how a camera obscura functions, that I understood the true nature of what I was seeing. The experience is reminiscent of the American artist Bill Viola's video installations, which are also eerily realistic in all their ‘mediatedness’. As an extra twist the work turned the question of mediation towards the world of sound. The recorded voice spoke about a form of auditory camera obscura, as the piece played with the effect of fixing or freezing the real sounds in time and stretching out their spectra amplified by the acoustic instruments. By situating its audience 'inside' a camera, something as complex as the relationship between a work and reality was thematised in a very concrete way."
[Anette Vandsø Andersen - from her review of SPOR festival 2011 in Seismograf]
"One that stands out is Joanna Bailie’s Axis, music with a Feldmanesque combination of faintness and resolution. A piano, playing one note at a time, comes to be joined by other instruments (bass clarinet, strings, alto flute); then everything is becalmed, a continuous soft sounding, slowly fluctuating in content and colour, a grey glow."
[Paul Griffiths - from his review of Endymion's Sound Census CD]