Concrete Barges

Rainham, Essex, UK, 1987

Bow Gamelan Ensemble were invited to make a piece specifically for television by Alter Image, Channel 4. They chose to work with the concrete barges near Rainham where they had previously explored sound on several of their many river trips into the estuary, recognising the huge differences in sound from low to high tide. They were filmed for over ten hours as the tide ebbed and flowed capturing the massive energy of this amount of incoming water and the ways one could harness this power to shift and shape sound. As the huge resonant chambers of the barges filled up, they deepened the sounds of the metal reinforcing bars sticking out as they were played with sticks and beaters. Passing vessels obliged by blasting their horns, adding to the Bow Gamelan’s own array of foghorns, sirens and hooters.


51º 29.9’ N , 0º 11’ E (1987)

An Alter Image (Channel 4) documentary on Bow Gamelan Ensemble performing Concrete Barges in Rainham, Essex, England in 1987.