This piece was a soundscape made from recordings of trains and street sounds in Tokyo in 2019, whilst on field work in a Virtual Reality project with the RCA. There is a research blog about that trip here. In addition to the street sounds, I added keyboards and guitars into the mix but tried to preserve the sounds of Tokyo as the main presence. It was made during our attempts, when we got back, to represent our experiences as a physical artefact, in the form of a zine, featuring drawn images and photographs. Richard Nash has more about the whole process on his Instagram account, Metapoiesis. I made the soundscape and then added the QR code to the zine. Later, I tried to work with video in the same way as the artists were working with drawing and laminates, and I made a video from clips I shot on my phone at the time of the visit, adding that as well. I really enjoyed the process of making something again and working in a different way on a music project, with much more environmental sound than usual. I am not sure whether it is best to listen first or watch the video… Anyway, here it is on Soundcloud…
This piece is dedicated to the memory of a Liverpool friend, Carol Joelson. She went to school with my partner, Janet, and was part of a circle of friends from Kirkby who’ve stayed in touch ever since. Carol was very special, very funny, clever and warm. Much loved and much missed. So … This is also for her partner Darrell, and their daughters, Ruby and Sadie.
If you’d like to help the Trussell Trust with the hunger and homelessness in austerity Britain , you can download the track at Bandcamp and pay any amount. I’ll make sure it gets to them.
This is how it was made. In March 2019, staying with Janet in Liverpool, in an apartment with a wonderful view, I made some time lapse films of clouds on my phone, looking out over the Liver Buildings and across the Mersey to Birkenhead. Liverpool is a beautiful and photogenic city at the best of times but the wide vista of river and sky against these buildings was lovely. I was supposed to be working but the sky was a big distraction. So, for this piece the images came first, which is not the usual way round. The one thing that was usual was the very slow pace in pulling it all together, involving multiple versions over many months. In the end, my friend, songwriter and musician Jack Hayter, took a listen during the early part of lockdown in 2020 and offered to add a pedal steel part, which basically lifted the whole thing up a level! All that was left was the mixing which again took ages until the intervention of yet another friend, musician and composer, David Julyan. I think his is the decisive version and if I don’t stick with it, it will be another year before I post it! Jack then tweaked some of the mastering at the last, and off it went, finally ready for upload in time for November 22nd, Carol’s birthday. Thanks to Jack and David for making this much better.
After a really, really long time, here is another piece for the ‘music of what happens’ project.
And on SoundCloud:
This piece began over a year ago with me trying to record some acoustic guitar in my shed. I was just playing with the various settings, trying not to get caught in all the cables, place the mic in a good position and so on; doing all this a tune began to emerge. I filed it and forgot about it. In between times I shot some video at the end of a blistering hot day in Segovia, a beautiful city in Spain not far from Madrid. I was there for work in June 2017 and this was the evening of my last day there and time to explore with some friends. I was struck, like most visitors, by the stunning Roman aqueduct and, like most visitors, by the vast numbers of swifts swooping and diving through the arches and in the sky overhead. I used the slow motion setting on my phone and the slowed down calls of the swift provided an inspiration for the music which followed some months later back in the shed, to which I then added the previously recorded guitar. David Julyan very generously took time to mix it and made it much better. I have now edited it into a short film in which nothing much happens, other than swifts make their way across two kinds of skies and through the arches of the aqueduct. The various fades and dissolves create abstract shapes in which I think I see something different each time. It all seems to fit with the music of what happens being about those moments where nothing much happens for a little while. As with Through the Market you can listen to it on SoundCloud without the video or you can watch it with the video on Vimeo… I hope you like it…
With thanks also to Olly Stothert for help with the compression settings.
The first new piece for a long time is a collaboration with film composer David Julyan. He was invited to make some sea soundscapes for the final Daylight Music this summer at the Union Chapel and asked me to join him. This upload is an edited version of our performance which David put together. We played in a semi improvised way after a few rehearsals in the days leading up to the show on the 9th July 2016, using found sounds, loop pedals, Nord piano, synthesisers and other effects. No laptops were used on this occasion. Some of the sea sounds were recorded by David at the Islay Limpet, a prototype for the world’s first full life wave power plant. The singers who appear later are moonlighting from the Singers and Lights piece I posted a while ago. We played in between the various acts that day, the Hermes Experiment, Lisa Knapp and the Cecil Sharp House Folk Choir, all of whom performed music or songs inspired by the sea. Hope you enjoy it…
More than a year later, and that is slow even by my standards, here is a new piece emerging from the shed. Assembled from field recordings under the Eiffel Tower late at night, some sounds made on the keyboard I still don’t fully understand, and a simple piano melody recorded to my phone on the always out of tune upright in the back room. It feels like there will be new versions of this – hence the numbering over at Soundcloud. But for now this is what it is. And it was much enhanced by Jack Hayter’s remastering. Thank you Jack!
Here is a new piece in the middle of the year and not at the beginning or end for a change. So it’s actually only taken five months to post something new. This piece has a title borrowed from a Paul Klee painting. The chords have been around for a while, pretty slow and static as usual. There’s a video on the way someday but that isn’t ready yet. Oh and there are some found sounds again. The bird was singing in Reykjavik in early April. Fire in the evening.
I made this music in the shed last January. I am working on some more now and then.
This track features the sound of people crossing the road in two cities a few years ago along with some simple keyboard parts.