HIVE in Isolation

During the 2020 lockdown, HIVE tried every video conferencing software they could get their hands on, but none really had quite the right atmosphere required for the listening and vocal improvisation central to HIVE’s practice. Here are some projects that the group created together whilst in isolation from each other.

Guide to Hand Watching

On March 15th 2020 HIVE were scheduled to perform at Sunflower Public House & Live Music with Handmade Music. It was canceled, and in the subsequent days HIVE were confined to their homes at the start of the 2020 lockdown.

For that show, HIVE had specially prepared some brand new performances. Given the circumstances, they never got the chance to perform these with an audience. One of the unperformed works was Guide to Hand Watching.

Following the canceled concert, the group recorded a performance of Guide to Hand Watching over video web conference (and added some more voices later).

Here are the instructions if you want to sing along:

  • Watch one hand
  • Make a vocal sound when the hands come into contact with the other hand
  • When the hand is more open, make a more open sound (Aah?)
  • When the hand is more closed, make a more closed sound (Ooo, Mmm?)

Voices: Aisling McCormick, Andrew Kenny, Elen Flügge, Eleni Kolliopoulou, Emily DeDakis, Méabh Meir, Nollaig Molloy, Una Lee

Hands: John D’Arcy

It Being in Springtime (Craigie Hill for multiple windows)

One day in April 2020, HIVE singers looked through their windows to the outside and sang a verse of the old Ulster song ‘Craigie Hill’. Together (apart) they recorded our views in the morning. They each sang at our own pace, unaware of each other, before being brought together into a single frame. Some wild chords blossomed.

Voices and windows by Aisling McCormick, Andrew Kenny, Elen Flügge, Eleni Kolliopoulou, Emily DeDakis, John D’Arcy, Méabh Meir, Nollaig Molloy, Una Lee.

If you want to try your own, here’s the lyrics:

It being in the springtime and the small birds were singing.
Down by a shady arbour I carelessly did stray.
The thrushes they were warbling, the violets were charming.
To view two lovers talking, a while I did delay

(if you’re learning the tune try the Dolores Keane version)

Home Within (for Didem) (2020)

In 2020 we ran a competition to give away a free copy of Song and Game to whoever could make the best improvised ‘something’ in response to our track ‘Murmuration’. That winner was composer Didem Coskunseven, who made a beautiful electronic augmentation of our song!

Didem’s prize was a copy of our vinyl 7″ single ‘Song and Game’, AND a brand new HIVE song written especially for them! We thought that since she improvised along with our tune, we would improvise with one of hers. We chose Didem’s piece ‘Home Within (music for a dance film)‘.

Whilst still in isolation, we all sat in our respective homes listening to Didem’s song, and recorded our voices singing along. We couldn’t hear each other, so we’re just held together by Didem’s track. But hopefully you’ll hear some happy accidents of coincidental inspiration in our voices. What you you hear is our recordings synced up to the moment we all individually hit play. There’s not much editing, just a little trip into space in the middle to dig into some feelings about our new collaborative methods.

HIVE voices: Aisling McCormick, Andrew Kenny, Elen Flügge, Emily DeDakis, Hanna Slattne, John D’Arcy, Marty Byrne, Nollaig Molloy, Una Lee.

Singing together online using Jamtaba

During the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, HIVE connected online through a number of web conferencing platforms in an attempt to sing together. Whilst each software had its own particular quirks, perhaps the most interesting was Jamtaba, which introduced time delays of a set period designed for syncing up tempo-based music. As usual, we didn’t stick to tempo, but we had fun playing with the time warp. Listen to an excerpt on Soundcloud here:

Exquisite Songs (2020)

A series of songs composed in series, line by line, passed around the group via voice notes. Listen to excerpts on Soundcloud: