5 Nocturnes – Foss Dyke Navigation
That’s ridiculous, my music is like LISTENING to paint dry! — Jamie Crofts
5 Nocturnes by Jamie Crofts is a reflection on the Foss Dyke Navigation at Night. It was launched at The Angel Coffee House in Lincoln with 100 free copies given away, out of a limited edition of 500, though they are not uniquely numbered.
5 Nocturnes is part of an ongoing series Octonic Fields using Octonic Modes (eight notes which divide an octave into four tones and four semitones).
The number sequence is octal, ie base eight, hence for 5 Nocturnes we have 14, 15, 16, 17, 20.
The Foss Dyke Navigation runs from Torksey Lock on the River Trent to Brayford Pool in Lincoln, into which also flows the River Witham, then on to Boston and the sea.
Lincoln was an important port, with sailing barges passing up the River Witham, then on to the River Trent via the Fossdyke.
Brayford was the site of an Iron Age settlement, which pre-dates the Roman City of Lindum Colonia.
Up until the 1960s, the Brayford was lined on two sides by warehouses and mills. Had they been restored they would have turned the Brayford into a very attractive area just off the High Street. Instead a dysfunctional City Council lacking in vision allowed their destruction. The Brayford is now an eyesore, lined by ugly buildings and tacky fast food outlets.
The Fossdyke is believed to be a Roman Canal but recent research has cast doubt.
This evening I sat listening to 5 Nocturnes in a conservatory halfway up a hillside overlooking Lincoln and the River Witham in the gathering dusk. It seemed appropriate.
5 Nocturnes is avant-garde minimalist, and yet it works. It conjures up an image of the Fossdyke at night. I am reminded of some paintings, but cannot think what.
Performed on a Steinway grand in a suitable venue, a church with good acoustics not a concert hall, would do 5 Nocturnes justice, but not on a cheap keyboard.
Jamie Crofts is currently working on counter to 5 Nocturnes, 5 Diurnes, the Brayford Pool by day. To truly reflect the Brayford, this will have to be loud and discordant to represent the ugliness of the Brayford. Or maybe in several parts: The Iron Age settlement, the hive of activity when it was one of the busiest ports in England, the twilight years when the mills and warehouses sat empty and idle, and the brash ugliness of the Brayford today.
Octonic Fields, of which 5 Nocturnes is part, I do not recommend. Not unless you wish to die of boredom or enjoy watching paint dry. It is very much, much of a muchness, 5 Nocturnes the only part worth listening to.
5 Nocturnes is not on bandcamp. Odd, on the one hand is not on bandcamp, where it would reach a far wider audience than giving away 100 free copies at The Angel Coffee House, on the other hand, when The Angel Coffee House tried to give away the copies left, Jamie Crofts got into a strop demanding they be returned. He should have been grateful they were doing him a favour. Bolts and stable doors, tears and spilt milk come to mind, or maybe ungrateful brat.
Octonic Fields, or at least parts thereof, can be found on soundcloud. Suitable for isolated pieces or works in progress, but not for entire albums, for which bandcamp is best suited.
The waveform on soundcloud gives some idea of the monotony of Octonic Fields. Usually will see some variation in the waveform, this is less monotony, more obsession. Got me thinking, could it be tool for analysis or detection of Asperger syndrome in the same a limiting of the use of vocabulary in a writer can be an early sign of dementia?