Music for the mountains

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.

Tropical Wetlands (Nature Documentary Soundtrack)

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.

Get your copy for a pay-what-you-like (or free!) download from here or in the player below:

UP (an new old album)

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.

 

He korokoro tūī (remix)

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:

Can’t Stand The Heat

Happy New Year. 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty creatively inspiring year – with plenty of new music and projects to work on!

A while back I created an 80’s inspired theme song as a potential idea for a (then unfinished) short film – kind of aiming for a fun uptempo cop film type vibe (think Beverly Hills Cop with The Heat is On by Glenn Frey)

But… the track didn’t really suit the tone of the finished film, so it ended up sitting unused on my hard drive for a few years.

Now, I have decided to release an album of unfinished tracks, instrumentals, and unreleased treats… it seemed like it was time to share this hilarity with the world! So I removed some of the lyrics (except the chorus), keep the music the same, and it could be the theme song for an insane cooking show!!

Featuring Joe McNamara on guitar and backing vocals.

Recent projects

Times have been busy leading up to Christmas, but here is a quick update with some of the more recent things I have been doing.

DV Bryant Trust 90th Celebration Film

DV Bryant 90th Celebration Film: December 2014 from nimbus media on Vimeo.

 

Lost Inside

A track from an unused film score for a thriller film about becoming unexpected trapped.

 

In that Infinite Moment

Created with Nick Tipping on bass this piece is a a real-time, unplanned moment of musical communication.
I appreciate that this is a long track, and as such it may prove daunting to commit to listening through – especially as time spent online is often searching for the quick reward. But, this track, and the musical journey it contains, is something that I believe it is worth listening to.  So, if you feel so inclined, sit back, close your eyes, and listen. Perhaps this moment with communicate something to you.
Thanks for your time.

A new musical tradition

It seems a new musical tradition is being set in motion. This time, one year ago I was lucky enough to spent a couple of days with a group of great musicians (Chris Lam Sam, Nick Granville, Nick Tipping, Jeremy Badger, Adam Page) creating and co-composing the soundtrack to the movie – Penny Black. This movie is nearing a release (with an accompanying soundtrack album).

For the second version of this new yearly tradition, I spent the day today in the University of Otago Music Department Albany Street Studios creating new music with Rob Burns (bass) and Robbie Craigie (drums and vibraphone). It is always great to get into a creative space with likeminded musicians and create sound in a space together.

Very much looking forward to getting in and mixing the new music from today… but in the meantime here are some tracks from the Penny Black Soundtrack. It is such an honour and a privilege to be able to make music with all these extremely talented and generous musicians.

Flutter

Things have been pretty hectic since the premiere of ‘Flutter’ and ‘Cut Away the Masts’ at the Otago Museum. I am very much looking forward to sharing some photos, videos and recordings of this music! It was a very rewarding performance – working with great people. It was incredibly moving the first time hearing the music in the space and seeing the way the butterflies seemed to react to the music. Magic.

Here are some pics from the process and the recordings… I will wait for the professional photos before I show anything from the actual gig.

Marty Roberts setting up for flutter

Marty Roberts setting up for flutter

Danny Buchanan setting up for flutter

Danny Buchanan setting up for flutter

Butterflies

Butterflies

John Egenes on pedal steel

John Egenes on pedal steel

Rob Burns on bass

Rob Burns on bass

Flutter rehearsal

Flutter rehearsal

Macarons made by the Tart Tin

Macarons made by the Tart Tin

Julia Booth recording vocals

Julia Booth recording vocals

Tessa Petersen recording the violin part

Tessa Petersen recording the violin part

Feby Idrus recording the flute part

Feby Idrus recording the flute part

L.O.Q.Shun

Yesterday marked the start of a week for premieres including:

– He korokoro tūī : a soundscape for a site-specific dance work by Karen Barbour, featuring taonga puoro by Alistair Fraser. This will be premiered at a conference held at Waikato University.

Flutter and Cut Away the Masts on Saturday at the Otago Museum.

But first, was the premiere of a new vocal piece L.O.Q.Shun premiered on Radio NZ on Sunday afternoon during the Standing Room Only show. It was part of a larger interview about my ongoing work as the Mozart Fellow.

You can check out the full interview here:
http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/remote-player?id=20158331

This piece was developed through discussions with the singer Julia Booth about the work of Alexander Melville Bell on the study of elocution. We started talking about creating a loop-based performance piece in November 2013, and finally ended up in November 2014 with a completed recording of the work!

I had found a book online that he had written called “The Principles of Elocution” from 1887, and based the text of snippets from that book – particularly the second on difficult combinations.
The work is all voices (with reverb and delay effects).
Two vocalists:
soprano – Julia Booth
vocal noises – Jeremy Mayall

Here the work in the audio player below:

Flutter

At the end of November I am presenting a concert at the Otago Museum which will feature the world premiere of two new pieces: Flutter and Cut Away the Masts. This is all being put together as part of my work as the Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago Music Department.

Flutter web image2 600x800px simple

1) Flutter – a multi-sensory, site-specific performance piece including: the feel and smell of the Tropical Rainforest (with hundreds of free-flying butterflies); the sound of brilliant musicians – Julia Booth, Tessa Petersen, Rob Burns, John Egenes, and Feby Idrus (with words by Shoshana Sachi, and technical enhancement by Stephen Stedman and Daniel Buchanan); the sight of the space and performers, as well as video by Dan Inglis and lighting by Martyn Roberts; and taste in the form of tasty morsels that correspond with the musical sections, created by the master baker at the Tart Tin boutique bake house.

2) Cut Away the Masts – a song cycle created in collaboration with 2014 Robert Burns Fellow Majella Cullinane The poems in the songs are inspired by The McIlrath Letters, a series of letters which were written by two brothers, who emigrated from Northern Ireland to New Zealand in 1860, and wrote back to their family there for over fifty years. The songs will be performed by Julia Booth – Singer.

There are two sessions available starting at 8pm and 8:30pm. Tickets cost $35 and include a drink and canapes (the selection of food has been specifically designed for this event and is quite delicious!!).

This performance serves as a gift/celebration of my time as the Mozart Fellow so far, and a public thank you for having me here in Dunedin!

Limited tickets available from the Otago Museum Front Desk.