Here are most of my sound projects in date order.
A little piece of gothic cinematic orchestral doom. Created in Logic.
A house track created with El Salvadorian singer Nelson Gomez.
What it might like sound like up in the stars. Created in Reaper using Spitfire choir samples and Noiiz samples.
I created the sound design for dancer/choreographer Erica Mulkern‘s project ‘Suzy Homemaker’, a full-length dance piece telling the stories of three women. Mixing different pieces of music, the sound design also included the voices of invisible characters, sound effects and width and depth to create a vivid aural landscape for her three characters to interact with.
Photo Credit: Elly Wel
Here are a few excerpts from the three sections: Susannah, a young aristocratic woman in the Edwardian era, Miss S a burlesque dancer in the 1920’s, and Suzy, a 1950’s housewife:
I created this soundscape to play in Sunny Bank Mills during the exhibition of the quilt of creative project Stitch Away The Stigma. People sent me their stories recorded on their phones and I underlayed them with gentle sounds, culminating in a string section at the end.
Working with performers Anthony Haddon and Madeleine Thorne, I devised and played the music for this short play for 2 – 6 year olds, playing violin, ukulele, bamboo flute and kazoo, plus some pre-recorded samples. Here are a few extracts from the half hour show performed on a windy day to an appreciative young audience!
(July 2021 and 2022)
This song was written by Stella, an asylum seeker based in Halifax who had recorded lots of her own songs on her phone during lockdown and wanted someone to create accompaniments for them. I tidied and chopped up the original audio, adapted a piano sample, and added some shakers and violin. She then exhibited it in an arts exhibition at St Augustine’s.
This song was written by a group of young men seeking asylum working alongside musicians Christella Litras and Leroy Johnson, for an Opera North Project Writing Home. In this version that I sent the participants afterwards, I mixed their voices singing in their own languages including Kurdish, Arabic, Serakhulle and Amharic.
Singers: Arun, Haroun, Mohammed, Benjamin, Jusf, Moussa and Abdullah
Guitar: Leroy Johnson, live recording Sam Day.
I experimented with Noiiz samples to create some house and ambient tracks during lockdown
This soundscape was created for an exhibit at the Chelsea Flower show by garden designer Zosia Berkeita-Lewis. The brief was for the planting, prints, sounds and scent to stimulate creativity, and art materials were available for people to stop a while and do some sketching. I used lots of natural brown noise which is supposed to enhance creativity – the sounds of waterfalls and forests – along with some low soothing tones and high frequency sparkles and shimmers.
This soundscape tries to capture the sounds of a really cold, but very bright and sunny winter’s day.
These are two soundscapes I created for an installation in Leeds Library of plants and botanical drawings as part of the British Library’s celebration of Harry Potter twenty years on. I tried to evoke the magical and mysterious sounds of plants growing, balanced with the fact that the soundtracks would be playing in the gallery all day, every day, for a month!
This piece was created to accompany artist Kevin Hickson’s stark black and white photographs of the Scottish mountains in winter. I tried to convey the savagery and majesty of the mountains at their most inhospitable, incorporating noises like the panting breaths of someone climbing, and aggressive rumbling noises and angry growls to describe that feeling when you turn a corner and a new vista appears, with yet more ascent. The bamboo flute soars over pounding drumming – it’s as if you’ve encountered a hostile tribe up there and they’re chasing you.
I wrote and recorded this rough draft of music for a film about a prisoner being released from jail and meeting his son, now a grown man. The brief was to create a very still but sorrowful main theme to evoke the sadness of a life lost. The piano plays the chimes of Big Ben in the left hand at the speed of seconds (60bpm), whilst the melody is made up of notes 3, 6 and 5 of the scale – the days in a year.
Then later, it appears again in reverse.
I added a violin solo to this track by Ed Stones and the BD3.
I created this backing track to accompany me on the violin as part of a series of one-off performances on the tram during Saltaire Festival – a journey that lasts exactly 2 minutes and 15 seconds. I mixed the Neapolitan song Funiculì, funiculà with Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending to describe the short ascent from Victorian tram station, up into beautiful lush forest, and back into the station at the top of the glen where there used to be a popular funfair.
I built up over twenty violin layers over submarine hums to create an atmospheric backing track for cabaret artist Em Brulée to perform at a David Lynch-inspired cabaret club, The Double R Club in London.
For this music for Space2’s installation for Light Night, I used samples from 16th century plainsong, to Prokofiev and Schönberg, underlaying them with submarine hums, drones, and anchored to the main theme, Nocturne from the Tron Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk. The performance consisted of a dancer choreographed by Gary Clarke, me playing the violin wrapped in silver plastic in the window, and video projections by Kevin Hickson.
This work was the product of a collaboration with four artists called ‘Lost in Translation’ for Space2. Working with the artist Kevin Hickson who videoed and photographed dancers from Yorkshire Dance and Fallen Angels (a dance company from Liverpool where recovering addicts find healing through dance) with choreography by Gary Clarke, I created a soundtrack that would embody the feelings of being trapped within a cycle of addiction. I sampled lighters, wineglasses, sharp intakes of breath and slow exhales, mixed with samples and looped violin.
I played the violin in Annie which was the Christmas show at Leeds Playhouse in 2011/12. Here is the trailer:
Here is some music from Musica Antiqua for a CD that I edited whilst working for Ground Bass Productions in 1995.