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

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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.