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Studies In Lockdown II

by Johnny Hunter Quartet

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Study 4 07:44
Study 5 08:24
Study 6 06:04


Since writing the first studies at the beginning of lockdown back in April 2020, methods of sharing realtime audio across the internet have become available – although doing so completely latency-free is still very difficult. The quartet and I began experimenting with one such platform called Audiomovers, which allows musicians to collaborate remotely in realtime. There were aspects of the original studies that worked in this new setting, but similarly there were aspects that did not. I began thinking about what music can be created in an environment where sight-lines between musicians are not possible and, more significantly, the players will hear things happening at slightly different times to each other, which led to this second set of studies.

Study 4 is almost a review of the previous studies, attempting to bring in all the aspects I believed to have worked whilst adding something new. I had a similar idea with the melody which folds over itself as it progresses, with an aural cue to move between sections, but this time with a rather static “groove” - a groove which has a constantly shifting pulse and a rhythm, which is perhaps never repeated in the same way, so is not reliant on having to lock together in time.

Study 5 plays on the fact that even with vastly reduced latency through Audiomovers, each of us still hears things being played in a slightly different place. We all have a unison line which we attempt to play in time with each other despite there being tenths of seconds delay between us, resulting in this overlapping of time and constant realignment. Because we are having to wait for each other to play the next note, the music would naturally slow down, so I had us do the opposite!

Study 6 is an exploration of space, focusing on the idea that each performer will have a different personal experience, listening to where each other is placing their long notes, and making a conscious choice as to when to play their own. The result is a slowly shifting palette that gradually moves from peaceful and tranquil to anxious and unnerving – rather like the initial lockdown experience. Hervé then added some subtle electronic post-production to really emphasise this. The music does, however, return to a more resolved and content state, so there may still be hope...

After working with artist Gillian Whiteley earlier in the lockdown, when she produced a wonderful series of improvised responses to solo improvisations (bricolagekitchen.com/isolation-improv-drawings), I asked her to create pieces of artwork in the same way for these three studies. Gillian has made videos documenting the creation of each piece whilst the music plays in the background, which I feel adds another layer to the compositions – the videos can be viewed at bricolagekitchen.com/drawings-for-johnny-hunter-quartet-studies-in-lockdown

Johnny Hunter, July 2021


released July 19, 2021

Mark Hanslip : tenor saxophone
Graham South : trumpet
Seth Bennett : double bass
Johnny Hunter : drums

Hervé Perez : field recordings, sound design
Gillian Whiteley : artwork

All tracks composed by Johnny Hunter

Recorded by the musicians in their homes, December 2020

Mixed and mastered by Hervé Perez


all rights reserved



Johnny Hunter Quartet Manchester, UK

Drummer/composer Johnny Hunter formed his quartet in 2010 to explores the possibilities and challenges afforded by the absence of a harmony instrument. Compositions draw on the piano-less groups of Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson through to those of John Zorn and Chris Speed, while leaning towards the freer, more exploratory approach of Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill and Joe Harriott. ... more

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