2 months have flown by

It is hard to believe that I have already been the Mozart Fellow at Otago Uni for 2 months!
It feels like I am still getting started – meeting all the various talents that inhabit this beautiful place.

Here is a bit of a catch up on the things that I have been working on so far:

– Working on the score for Blonde (a short film, made in New York)

– Two new pieces for piano and electronics. No.1 and No.2

– A new short piece for bass

– Some French-inspired accordion music for a video project (link to come)

– Remix for Ed Zuccollo

– Planned (and current) Collaborations: a song cycle based on poems about the Dunedin landscape; a new album of solo instrument chamber music; an ep of songs; individual works with various composers/sound artists across NZ; a piece for multiple guitarists; music for a game; a multimedia piece for musicians and dancers; a short narrative dance film.

– Plus some new pieces: A short orchestral fanfare; a piece for 4 pianos; a suite of short piano pieces; and a sound-art installation.

And finally trying to finish the PhD! Things are full on, but it is very inspiring and creatively fulfilling work. I am absolutely loving my time here in Dunedin, and plan to continue to make the most of it!

 

2013 Reflections

It is the beginning of 2014, a new calendar year and I am sitting next to my son while he plays ‘endless alphabet‘ on the iPad with concentrated skill and fury. I find myself thinking about everything that happened over the last year – it has been a pretty hectic 365 days!
Some of the things that stick out in the memory are:

Family

– started the year moving out to Cambridge
– Wolf turned 1
– Courts was the lead in Hairspray (even on the back of a bus!)
– 5 years together, 3 years married!
– finished the year moving everything into storage ready for our adventure to Dunedin!

My Music

– Performed at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival
– Performances at Okta
– Winner of Multimedia section at 2013 Waikato Lilburn Trust Composition Competition for both Flow and Push for Miles
– Presented a concert of original music
 New Video (by Dan Inglis) for Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm
– Continued composition, recording, research, writing and general ongoing work for the PhD
– Awarded the Mozart Fellow for 2014.

Films

Worked on score/sound for the following films:
Play Dead
Winter Storm
Invaders
Serve and Protect
Lapwing
Blonde
Autocraniotomous
Full Retard
You Only Die Forever
Shepherd
And just recently finished the recording/composition session for Penny Black. (complete with music for kids toys)

Work and Other Things

– Gigs with The Funky Monkeys
– Lighting and Sound at the Academy of Performing Arts
 Lecturing in music composition and music theory at the University of Waikato
– Post-grad supervision of music students at Wintec
Wedding Celebrant
– Youth mentoring and teaching
– DJ gigs & Band gigs
– Finalist in National Contemporary Art Awards
– Judge at Talent Quests
– Speak at Pechakucha

Music Production and Recording

– Working with Mr Roberelli
– Remix for Sound the Ocean
– Remix for Bangladesh
– Musical about buses
– Soundtrack editing for schools, equestrian shows, stage challenge etc.
– Music for theatre piece Instructions for Life
– Recording for Diaz Grimm
– Production for Chess Countess

Things have been pretty full on. Thanks to everyone I have had the pleasure of working with this year! The collaborations, conversations and creativity that I have experienced with you all are what makes it possible to continue to pursue a creative life. Thanks. I look forward to our continued work together.

Goals for 2014 are to make more time for rest and family, focus on health and wellbeing, and continue to be productive with making original music. Plus there are a bunch of new collaborations in the pipelines! Exciting times are ahead!

Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm

‘Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm’ is a suite in seven movements for piano trio and boombox.

It was written for The New Zealand Chamber Soloists (Katherine Austin, Lara Hall and James Tennant) and was premiered on the 19th September 2013.

During the early stages of writing this piece I got together with my frequent collaborator and video master Dan Inglis to discuss the possibilities of making a video for this piece. We talked about the influences in the music of Funk, Psychdelica, Fusion etc… and discussed how this could be incorporated into a video version. The idea slowly developed that the video would be some kind of mix between concert video, music video and experimental film.

‘Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm’ is the final piece written for my PhD. It is my attempt to bring some of the psychedelic funk and fusion music of the late 60s/70s and Early 80s into contact with the more traditional ‘classical’ setting of the piano trio. It aims to bring together the grooves and vibes of this powerful rhythmic funk and combine it with the precision and un-compromising technique of contemporary classical music.

Here is the video link on vimeo:
Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm by Jeremy Mayall

Continue reading

Nearly the end of November.

Again it has been awhile between posts. Life always gets hectic at this time of year… and it seems especially so when trying to finish a PhD, pack up the house into storage, and teach summer school among everything else. But oh well, by christmas time I will have time for a break.

In the meantime, here is a catch up on some of the things that have been going on:

– I have written 19,644 words for my PhD thesis. This is good news. And also slightly worrying news. I am supposed to write up to 30,000 words. And I still have to write the analysis of nine compositions and a conclusion. So I only have 10,356 words left… which only equals about 1035 words per remaining section. That is not a lot of words. Maybe I can have a few extra words. Or I need to do some serious culling.

‘Serve and Protect’: a short film by Chasing Time Productions has had its NZ premiere and was one of the audience favourites for Show Me Shorts.

The Scorelocks Collective have finished the score for LAPWING. And everything is booked in for the recording session for the PENNY BLACK score in December.

– The film ‘Blonde‘ that I will be scoring has just wrapped shooting in New York.

– A truly ambitious independent feature film that the Scorelocks will be scoring is in pre-production. You can help fund SHEPHERD here.

Joe Hitchcock has been awarded the funding to make a new short film next year – I am very much looking forward to scoring this!

Dan Inglis is busy working away on the editing for the video of ‘Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm’ – Chamber music performance meets intergalactic psychedelic funk. Can’t wait to share this with you all!

– I spoke at the PechaKucha Hamilton event which was great fun! Go and check these events out if you get the chance.

– My pieces ‘Flow‘ and ‘Push for Miles’ were awarded first equal in the 2013 University of Waikato Lilburn Trust Composition Competition.

Well, that is all for now. Back to work. Back to packing the house into boxes. And getting already to finish this PhD and move into an exciting year as the Mozart Fellow at Otago Uni.

Talk soon.

Reconstructions

As part of my phd work I writing, reading and refining a lot of text. But I also have been thinking about, and revisiting, my music.

As part of that process, I have been working on a reconstruction of my piece “The Foggy Field”. This is still a work in progress, but I thought I would share it out and see how it sits in the listening world.  Sometimes you get too close to a work and it is important to give it some space, and then come back to it.

So here it is: SOUNDCLOUD

If you have any thoughts about it, drop them in the comments.

Thanks for listening.

Where things are at…

It has been a hectic past few weeks… and looks to be more of the same until October.

Things that have been going on recently:

  • You can now find all of the videos from my PhD Concert Showcase collected in one handy little vimeo channel. You can find those videos here.
  • Writing more words for my phd thesis… I think its at about 4500 words that I am actually happy with! Still a lot of writing to do.
  • A film (‘Serve and Protect‘) that I did sound design and composition for has just received word of its first international festival screening.
  • Wrote some score for a film (based in New York) that is about to start kickstarter fundraising – more info to come.
  • Have been discussing some possibilities for some international performances of my music… still more details to be sorted!
  • Finally, had the world premiere concert of my piece ‘Sketches of an Intergalactic Earworm‘ for Piano Trio and BOOMBOX at the University Okta Contemporary Music concert. Will be doing a full recording and video of this piece in early October. Here is a pic from the rehearsals – featuring the NZ Chamber Soloists (Lara Hall, Katherine Austin and James Tennant) and an upcycled suitcase boombox constructed by my father.

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The Long White Cloud (video)

This is the final video from the concert recordings.

At the concert this piece was performed under the title “They say a word is dead”. But after some discussions, and a long timing thinking about possibilities… the piece was re-worked, re-arranged and had some new parts written to make the piece better suited to support my PhD. Thus this new version took on a new focus and a new meaning – hence the new title.

The Long White Cloud – by Jeremy Mayall
for chamber ensemble

Featuring:
Lauren Grout – Flute
Adam Maha – Viola
Yotam Levy – Cello
Mike Booth – Trumpet
Chris Lam Sam – Keys
Chris McBride – Guitar
Nick Tipping – Bass
Brad Thomson – Drums
Jeremy Mayall – synths and electronics

and I was fortunate enough to be able to use the sounds and masterful playing of Richard Nunns on Taonga Puoro.

The Long White Cloud is my interpretation of NZ and it’s landscape and soundscape. This piece is a journey through the many sounds and worlds that this small land encompasses.

The piece is in 7 sections: 4 larger movements and 3 interludes.
Movement 1: At dawn with the Korimako
Interlude: The Tui’s call
Movement 2: Sea Chase
Interlude: A flightless night
Movement 3: Along the river Waikato
Interlude: Onomatopoeic Owls
Movement 4: Kokako, the bringer of water

This piece was written for a unique ensemble combining orchestral instruments with those from the worlds of rock, jazz and electronica. This suite combines a large number of genre inspirations, and exists in a world between traditional notation, guided improvisation, and studio construction. Unlike other pieces where the orchestral instruments provide a textural accompaniment (much like an expensive synthesizer) to existing ‘popular’ songs, this piece aims to give all the instruments equal placement in the overall composition. Through amplification and sound mixing the intricate textures from the flute, viola and cello should be able to exist comfortably with drums and distorted guitar.

The Long White Cloud from Jeremy Mayall on Vimeo.

Lighting: Aaron Chesham
Live Sound: Ben Mannell
Post-production audio mix: Jeremy Mayall

Camera Ops: Dan Inglis, Joe Hitchcock, Ben Woollen, Scott Granville, Ashton Ledger
Video Edit: Dan Inglis

The Norse Suite (video)

This is the second to last piece from the concert videos, and there are two different versions of the piece available to be watched:

The Norse Suite – concert version & The Norse Suite – final version

The difference between the two videos is that after the premiere performance (concert version), I made some revisions to the piece… changing some sections, moving a couple of things around, cutting some stuff out, and linking the 3rd and 4th movements. And as I wanted to have video for all of my PhD pieces I had to ask Adam, Yotam, and Dan if they would mind recording the piece again so that I could have the new final version of the piece on file.

SO… if you only have time to watch one version, I would recommend the Final Version… but if you want to hear the difference, and see what it was like in the concert, then please watch the Concert version as well.

The Norse Suite – J.Mayall
for viola and cello

Viola: Adam Maha
Cello: Yotam Levy

This piece was originally intended for the combination of viola and electric guitar. Unfortunately writing contemporary classical music (with traditional notation) is difficult for electric guitar as many rock guitarists come from a background very different to that of score-reading classical musicians. The piece was then adapted for viola and cello – but it aims to retain a lot of that stylistic writing for guitar, and tries to re-create crunchy distortions and electronic delay effects using only the natural sound of the instruments.

Recorded at the Gallagher Concert Chamber at the University of Waikato

FINAL VERSION

The Norse Suite – Final Version from Jeremy Mayall on Vimeo.

CONCERT VERSION

The Norse Suite – concert version from Jeremy Mayall on Vimeo.

The Foggy Field (video)

The next installment from the concert videos is here.

Writing a piece like this is always fun, because being partly improvised – you know that there will be some stuff that will happen as expected, and then there will be somethings that happen in the moment that really stop you in your tracks. Working with a performer like Mike Booth, you know that those kind of magic moments are bound to appear. In fact, in this video you can catch my reaction to one of those moments with a run that happens at around 4.17.

The Foggy Field – by J. Mayall
for trumpet, flugal horn, turntables and backing track

Trumpet and Flugal Horn: Mike Booth
Turntables and Backing track: Jeremy Mayall

‘The Foggy Field’ takes its inspiration (and vocal sample) from an interview with composer Philip Glass talking about his compositional process. It is a process of uncovering and fine-tuning images through a thick fog. Musically this piece explores the combination of minimalism, modal jazz, dance music, electronica, and soundscape. Listen closely to hear the sounds of NZ birds emerging from an electronic fog.

The Foggy Field from Jeremy Mayall on Vimeo.