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.

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.

Banglade$h – LEAN – Remix

As a bit of a break from all of this PhD composition I put together a remix for the band Banglade$h.  Their track ‘Lean‘ is such an awesome catchy tune. It was an absolute pleasure to do this remix – even if it was a bit difficult working out where to start because I liked the original tune so much.

My remix is currently available for free download on soundcloud.

You can also listen to it here:

Live Concert Streaming – Sunday 7th April 7:30pm (NZDT)

My PhD Concert Showcase is taking place this Sunday (7th April) at 7:30pm New Zealand Time… If you aren’t in Hamilton NZ, you can still watch the concert by checking out the live stream!

Hopefully it will all work on the day… I have been doing some tests and it seems to be working okay.

You can watch it by going to this page: J Mayall – Live Concert

Or you can stay here and watch it below:

Live stream by Ustream

J.Mayall – Concert Showcase/Live Recording

At the end of this week I am putting on a concert of original music that I have written over the past couple of years as part of my PhD. I have been exploring the possibilities of cross-genre hybridity in new music composition!

The concert will take place on April 7th 2013 from 7:30pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato. Entry is free.
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This concert showcase on April 7th will feature all new compositions written during this period of research, featuring ‘The Norse Suite’ for viola and cello, ‘The foggy field’ for trumpet and turntables, ‘Push for Miles’ for electric bass and backing, and ‘They say a word is dead’ – a suite for chamber orchestra, among other pieces. Top-class musicians from across the North Island will be coming together in Hamilton for this concert (and live recording).

Presented with the support of The University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and PUMA NZ.

The production would not be possible with out the help of numerous talented people like: Brad Thomson, ACLX, Mannell Audio, ChasingTime Productions, Luminis Limited, Joe Hitchcock, and all the musicians who have given of their time and skill.

I am also looking into the possibilities of streaming the concert live! Still have to work through the particulars of this, but if it happens you will be able to watch it here.

(More details about the stream to come!)

An unknown Superhero

I have the distinct pleasure of being involved with the creation of some parts of a new superhero story.

This superhero is ‘LAPWING’ – This hero has been created by the people behind a new feature film that is being filming in New Zealand – Penny Black.

“Instead of quoting existing movies in the dialogue of Penny Black, we decided it would be better to create our own Pop Culture Icon to reference. So LAPWING is a superhero we have created based on the LAPWING bird.”

I will be involved in the filming of the featured LAPWING Episode – which is going to be action-packed and super fun.

I will also be working (with the Scorelocks Collective) to create the score for both LAPWING and Penny Black. In preparation for the shoot, and as inspiration for the creation of the characters and story, we composed and recorded the ‘theme music’ for LAPWING.

Have a listen here:

Just another fun little side project that I have the privilege of being involved in.

A quest for bearding glory…

At the start of my PhD study I decided to grow my beard.

Part of the reason for this was because, while I have had facial hair in various forms for a number of years, I had never really let my beard grow out to reach its full potential, and this seemed like a good time to do it. The other reason was that when you graduate with a PhD you were robes and an odd wizard like hat – so if I had a big bushy beard I would look so much like a wizard – it would be awesome, AND I would find it hugely entertaining to graduate.

So after deciding to grow my beard out, I started researching beard care, techniques for trimming, and other general beard information. I found a number of books (some good, others not so good) and I also found out about the World Beard and Moustache Champs. I also discovered that there had never been a representative from NZ make the trip to compete, and I wanted to be the first one.

This quest to represent my country in the olympics of facial hair was well-documented by local media – they even got us to write a weekly blog about beards.

Unfortunately being a poor student, and not managing to find sponsors with the $$ to get us to Norway, this dream was put on stand-by. In the meantime we made some hilarious bearded videos, ran a NZ national competition at Beach Hop, and even pitched the local networks for a reality/doco TV series about bearding competitions which they dismissed (I guess they thought it was a joke), until about a year later when this show was featured on the evening news…

Anyway, next weekend it is the US Beard and Moustache Nationals in Las Vegas. It would be awesome to go and check out the scene, meet the people and admire the glorious facial hair – but alas it is still not possible (PhD work, concerts, and of course my awesome son)… but my hopes are not completely dashed… there is still the next World Champs in Germany.