BRAIN MUSIC I also recently worked on a project exploring the relationship between music and the brain with the Otago University Brain Health Research Centre. The music composed for that project is now online! Listen here:
Last year I worked on an experimental dance film with Dan Inglis and Dujon Cullingford.
The piece is kind of an exploration of breakdancing in an unusual way. It is always a privilege to collaborate with other artists of such high calibre! The final product is now online for your viewing pleasure.
FOOTNOTE: On Tuesday I faced the final PhD hurdle – the oral defense. While it was quite ominous in the lead-up (having to defend the last 5 years of ones life is not the most enjoyable concept) – the actual event was quite pleasant! So, while it still seems quite surreal, I can apparently say I have my doctorate… (but really I still need to print the final versions, and walk across that stage looking like a wizard to collect the piece of paper.)
If you would like to, you can get a copy of the music composed for the thesis here:
With the release of the ‘Flutter’ video, I have had people ask me what my next performance piece will be… at the moment I am unsure. We shall see what comes up.
But in the meantime, I thought it might be good to revisit some of the multi-media performance projects I have put together, and collect them all in one place. Here.
As a bit of creative fun I decided to create a piece using some taonga puoro recordings I had made with Alistair Fraser. I listened through the recordings, and then started to create a piano piece that would allow Alistairs musical gestures to flow naturally and create a sense of balance between the taonga puoro and the ‘western’ musical parts.
The picture is from the trek in the Himalayas – a path leading down to Namche Bazaar. It seemed appropriate for the feel of the piece.
As part of the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Step Higher Award I was lucky enough to head to the Himalayas to spend a couple of weeks following in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary exploring a small part of his trek to Everest and the humanitarian work he was doing in the area. We visited a number of schools and a hospital that he helped build. It was quite an experience – very quiet and remarkably beautiful. The highest point we trekked to was Ama Dablam base camp at 4600m. Here are a few pictures.
The travel also included some time in London, Adelaide, Renmark and Hamilton catching up with friends and family.
3. Music for the Brain.
Before I left I was lucky enough to collaborate on a project with the Otago University Brain Health Research Centre. Working with neuroscientist Professor David Bilkey I composed a piece of music designed to spark responses in the brain that would be visable on an EEG brain scan. Then for the premiere performance at the Otago Museum there would be someone attached to one of these machines and the brain wave scans would be projected on to a screen as part of the presentation.
Nearly reaching the end of my first year in Dunedin as the Mozart Fellow. It has been a hugely productive, creative and artistically rewarding year. I am very excited for all the possibilities that the upcoming year will present.
One of those opportunities is starting the year by heading to Nepal to trek in the Himalayas as part of the Sir Edmund Hillary Step Higher Award. It is going to be great to explore this part of the world that I have never been to. I am sure it will be inspiring, and I will be taking a recording device to capture some of the sounds of the environment which will potentially find their way into some new music.
In the meantime, here is an album that I released when I first found out about the award and this journey. It is an album of landscape-inspired music for piano and electronics. You can get yourself a copy here or in the player below. It is a pay-what-you-like (or free) download with all funds received being donated to the Himalayan Trust as part of this journey.
As part of the release of a range of projects I worked on last year here is a new album by The Scorelocks Collective. All this music was composed and performed by Chris Lam Sam and myself. It was created for a nature documentary exploring the tropical wetlands of Australia.
The music is aiming for a modernization, or contemporary film music approach to the nature documentary soundtrack – utilising a fusion of electronic and orchestral sounds in a range of stylistic approaches.
Here is something a little bit different to the more ‘serious’ or ‘arty’ projects I have been working on recently.
Since my last “pop” album projects (One Fat Man and …howard) I had been working on a bunch of synthy, poppy follow up music. But due to various things (mainly working on my PhD and having a kid) I never ended up finishing the music with lyrics etc. Some of these tracks date back to 2009 and I felt like it was time to get this music out to stop it from just disappearing into the background of my hard drives… then I can continue moving on with the various other new projects! At this point I don’t think I will ever ‘finish’ them, but I would rather they were available to listen to, than just sitting on my hard drive.
So, this is a collection of unreleased tracks, instrumentals that never got lyrics, and other previous unused treats. This work followed on from the synthy explorations of the …howard project. Most of this album is fun, uptempo, synth-pop-ish, dance music.
THIS IS MUSIC THAT IS NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. IT’S JUST FOR FUN. SOMETIMES THAT IS ALL THAT THINGS NEED TO BE. HAVE FUN.
Some of the tracks feature vocals (by Conor McCabe, Stephanie Christian, Joe McNamara and Courteney Mayall), but most are just uptempo instrumental synthy jams.
At the end of last year I had the opportunity to create a soundscape for a new contemporary dance work “Whenua” by Karen Barbour.
The work was premiered at a conference at Waikato University.
In the recording and creation of this piece I had the privilege of working with Alistair Fraser playing his selection of taonga puoro. We recorded his parts at the University of Otago Music Department Albany Street Studios with Stephen Stedman.
Have a listen to an edited remix version of the piece below: