Here are all my creative outpourings over the last few years.
Excerpts from 'Where Is Fairyland?'
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)
Just One Day - Stella
This song was written by Stella, an asylum seeker and also wheelchair user, 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 in Halifax.
Home is a Feeling
This song was written by a group of young men from the Refugee Council 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
I created this soundscape after the workshops for this Opera North project, using the audio clips of people singing songs from their childhood, recorded on phones or laptops, and underlaying them with low, calming tones and gentle piano chords.
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 convey a really cold, but very bright, sunny winter’s day.
Plants I and II
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.
What You Lookin' At
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.
Song to the Siren
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.
The Garden of Unearthly Delights
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:
Editing Classical music
Here is some beautiful music from Musica Antiqua for a CD that I edited whilst working for Ground Bass Productions back in 1995.