Bill Baird – Summer is Gone
- Fiona Shepherd
- 3 November 2016
New album from experimental composer explores the theme of passing time
The description 'unique' is frequently used and abused in promoting artistic work, but Summer is Gone really is a unique listening experience, providing 58 minutes of original music, which is individually sequenced at the precise time you visit the summerisgone.live website and therefore subtly different at every listen, let alone for every listener.
In order to pull off such a particular project, experimental composer Bill Baird has created 250 mixes of ten ambient tracks, creating enough potential configurations to supply a possible (quick arithmetical calculation) 1.35 billion years of blissful listening.
Baird has declared this is 'the only way to make music that's not stale the second it gets released'. His deeper purpose is to remind that life is short and each moment should be savoured, but he also plays with the notion that every listener hears something different in the music they encounter.
Close listening is definitely encouraged here, as the webpage flashes up the message 'this moment will not exist again' and counts down the minutes. As I don't have a spare billion years to offer a comprehensive overview, I'll simply share my bespoke moment which began with the gently rippling and chiming percussive sounds of the title track and introduces Baird's fragile voice before falling away abruptly.
There was much ambient drifting over the next 50 minutes, embellished with gently keening guitar on the brief instrumental 'Rain on the Window', gamelan chimes on the gently hypnotic 'Slip into Shadow' and channel-surfing samples on the wafting, world-weary freak folktronica of 'Life's a TV Show'.
For all the soothing sonics, the experience was more defined by the keen, even urgent awareness of the passing seconds than by the music. But that might just have been me.
Listen to Summer is Gone at summerisgone.live