The term acousmatic sound refers to sound that you hear, but cannot see the origin of. Barrett’s intention is that the removal of visual information frees the listener’s ‘audio-fantasy’. A master in electroacoustic music and digital sound manipulation, Barrett leaves few traces of familiar sounds or instruments in her music, although the audio sources often are acoustic.
The title Puzzle Wood refers to a forest in Gloucestershire, England, where Barrett grew up, and also gives name to this album’s key track, and oldest composition. The technology available at the time in 1994, did not suffice in creating what Barrett viewed as a representative master. Hence, this is the first time the piece is now available in an edition which brings forth musically important elements lost in the original version.
This release consists of five compositions, whereof four of them (‘Little Animals’, ‘Earth Haze’, ‘Racing Unseen: Racing Far, Racing Wide’ and the title track) were composed between 1994 and 1997. The album’s newest composition, ‘Animalcules’ from 2010, was commissioned by Notam (Norwegian Center for Technology in Music and the Arts), and was inspired by Pierre Schaeffer’s ‘Cinq études de bruits’ from 1948 – early compositions of electroacoustic music, and integral examples of ‘musique concrete.’
Barrett’s works are performed all over the world, and she has received numerous accolades, among them the Nordic Council Music Prize (Nordic countries), the Giga-Hertz Award (Germany) and the Edvard Prize (Norway). Puzzle Wood is her 11th album release. Natasha Barrett has a PhD in composition and is a leading figure in contemporary acousmatic music.