Micro-commission: Manon McCoy


As we get closer to the 2022 Lancaster Jazz Festival, we’re excited to announce another new micro-commission inspired by Lancaster from Manon McCoy of Pocket.

Manon shared her thoughts about the creation of this piece ‘you can read these lines in any order’ which premiers on 21 August 2022 – put the date in your diary!

Bookmark this link to the premier of ‘you can read these lines in any order’.

you can read these lines in any order

Composed by Manon McCoy

Performed by b a l o – Manon McCoy (harp) & Will Shaw (drums)

Visuals – Luca Shaw

Videography – Juliana Day

Mixing and Mastering – Matt Richens

Having never been to Lancaster, this piece began with the very limited fragments of information I already had of the place. A distant and incoherent concept of the place emerged through a series of google searches leading to: old maps of ancient village walls, environmental agreements and land borders, local poets and arts scenes. I tailored my online experience of Lancaster in order to find something to begin with, but this process became the groundwork of the project. ’you can read these lines in any order’ is perhaps a commentary on the possibilities our digital age affords us to create our own conceptions of places we have never physically been to and how these are warped by our own interests which we subconsciously follow in our searches, or, perhaps more sinister, are fed to us by the algorithms we have created.

The piece is performed by Will Shaw and myself as our duo ‘balo’. The material I prepared for the music was centered around a graphic score which we individually navigated. Everything was sketched loosely as a response to my initial concept and the rest evolved through workshopping. The piece follows threads of coherence which rapidly become fragmented and lost into freely improvised texture where the two instruments completely detach from one another.

The brief for this composition was to build a work to exist online and so I wanted to create a visual element. For this I collaborated with Luca Shaw, who turned a series of graphics of maps, shapes and endless google search words (unique to my internet spiral) into dynamic and expansive projections which she performed during the piece. The live performance was captured by Juliana Day who then worked the footage into an immersive video, adding another layer of obscurity and dynamic to the project.

Commissioned by Lancaster Jazz Festival with funding from Arts Council England.

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