Our piece “Oya ” was created entirely using field recordings we made in September 2021, in and above a working mine in Oya region, and will provide the soundtrack for travellers on the underground mobility ride.
It recreates the journey on foot [via narrow staircase] from surface into the 56 metre depths of the mine, and back again, through its textures and musical palette.
As we near the floor of the mine, the subterranean sensation increases and listeners experience the exact impulse response reverberation that one feels within the working mine’s core. In this section, we play with the overwhelming textures and rhythms we felt through the enormous scale of the carved rock face as it sonically responded to those who mined its prized Oya Stone.
Imagining also the journey of listeners in the mobility car, we achieved a feeling of forward movement via the muted, mechanical sounds recorded within the mine’s constantly operating water irrigation system, and make reference to further important local connections: to pay respect to Utsunomiya’s cultural significance as a centre of Japanese jazz and the birthplace of Sadao Watanabe, a distant “saxophone” motif blends with a jazz-like harmony which comes from tension between Japanese Insen and Min'yō scales.
– Nick Luscombe + James Greer, October 2021