MLD BLOG

Pre-save link for 'Mist' featuring Mella 

One week from today, on 13th September 2021, my new collaboration with the awesome Mella is released on all the internet music platforms. If you have Spotify, you can pre-save it here -

 

Some way down the Metamorphosen road 

I am now 8 minutes (about a quarter of the way) into my Digitiphonic version of R Strauss' Metamorphosen, thanks to ongoing vocal contributions from Claire Dunn and Mella Barnes - it is a much bigger project than I realised when I started it. In fact it's like writing another Digitiphony. But I've started, so I can't stop. Hoping to (though not sure I will) complete it before 2023...

 

New collab with Mella 

My new collaboration with the amazing Mella is officially released on 13th September, but you can hear it already on bandcamp 

 

Kingley Vale Score, Dolby Atmos mixing and Metamorphosen resumption (again) 

I received the score of my Tone Poem Kingley Vale back from the printers this week. It looks amazing. Beautifully engraved by Graham Hall at ghmusic.prep.com and printed on heavy grade A3 paper so no bleed through from the other side of the pages.

Kingley Vale Cover Kingley Vale First Page

Kingley Vale section

I have started remixing 'Culmination' from Digitiphony 3 final movement in Dolby Atmos surround. I think this format may be about to become more mainstream as an immersive music format, though of course, in the history of music formats there have been many casualties along the road so no-one can predict which ones will stay the course. But I think music has been itching for a new format for decades - the gradual creeping, pervasive compression of music files on the internet to stream them has had a numbing effect on music quality, though it is understandable how and why it has happened. But Dolby Atmos has been around in cinemas and theatres for a while now, and the technology is spreading to people's homes and, more importantly, AI and software developments have meant that it can be translated into headphones listening. Our two ears make 3 dimensional sense of sound surrounding us, after all, so why shouldn't that be possible with artificial intelligence and computer software?

Also I am back working on my Digitiphonic version of R Strauss' Metamorphosen, again, after gaps and distractions. I need to accept that this is a long term project and pace myself. I am terrified I will make a poor rendition of a much admired, aesthetically profound and inspired piece of music, so I am taking my time and being careful and meticulous. I am working on the second phrase of the words by Goethe that Strauss was originally going to use for the music, before it became a string piece. These words of Goethe's are deeply moving, and are one reason why I can't let this project go.

Kingley Vale photo montage 

I went down to Kingley Vale in the South Downs, UK, to check my memories of it were correct while I was writing the Tone Poem of the same name. I took lots of photographs, retracing the steps of my childhood walks in that magical, mystical and inspiring place. I have assembled them into a video and put it on Youtube, accompanied by the music I wrote.

 

Kingley vale released at Apple etc and back to Metamorphosen 

Kingley Vale, my modern day Symphonic/Tone Poem, is now released at Apple, Spotify, Tidal and all good internet music stores. I am gradually moving my psyche back to working on my Digitiphonic version of R. Strauss' Metamorphosen, which the above Tone Poem distracted me from. More on that soon.

 

Kingley Vale 

I have finished my modern day Tone Poem/Symphonic Poem 'Kingley Vale' a challenge I accepted from my friend Richard Howard and inspired by a magical place in the South Downs, UK. Kingley Vale is a mixture of ancient Yew Forests, Steep Hills and antiquated burial mounds. the Yew Trees are believed to be up to two thousand years old, the burial mounds even older.

A Tone Poem was a descriptive, orchestral, programmatic piece inspired by a certain place or situation. I walked up Kingley Vale many times as a young child, then as an adult. This music was based on the first of those journeys that I can remember - I would have been about seven. When I was three quarters of the way through writing the music, I decided to take a trip down there, as lockdown was easing. it's only 10 miles away from where I live. It all seemed amazingly familiar, despite the fact that I haven't been there for many years..

 

 

Learning, always learning 

I feel like I have gone back to school. The two projects in particular that I am working on are both educative and inspiring, but I would not have thought to do them without being nudged into them. The first, I have been meaning to do for a while, but was waiting to finish my tenth Digitiphony before letting it engross me. I first heard Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen a few years ago, and it had a profound effect on me. I knew then that one day I would have to have a go at re-interpreting it in Digitiphonic style, but this idea was accelerated greatly when my friend, and music engraver, Graham Hall transcribed the whole thing for me (in a week ! - that would have taken me a year if I had tried to do it) into Dorico, which meant that instead of squinting at a pocket score I could port over midi files from Dorico to my DAW, saving me loads of time and inspiring me at the same time, also leaving me with enough energy to re-envisage Strauss' notes through electro-orchestral ears, and also to play with the idea of using the words by Goethe that first inspired him to write the music (it was going to be a choral piece originally, apparently) to take the music into the vocal realm as well as the Digitiphonic one. The second project is a challenge from my friend Richard Howard who, when I completed Digitiphony 10, suggested I write a Tone Poem. This musical form, though more something from the end of the 19th Century/beginning of the 20th than something employed in the 21st, first piqued my interest when I became obsessed with Bax's 3rd Symphony ('Tintagel' by Arnold Bax is one of the best known Tone Poems) and apparently Richard had been thinking for a while I should have a go at composing one. He said I needed to remember a place that meant a lot to me, and base it on that. I had no trouble remembering a place - Kingley Vale in the South Downs, which I first went to as a young child - it was a yew forest, burial mounds, steep hills and a view down to the Solent and English Channel from the top. It is a completely magical place. The reason I feel as if I am back at school is because to complete the challenge I feel I should only use orchestral instruments - as composers who wrote Tone Poems (Symphonic Poems) did, 'back in the day' - despite my natural inclination to compose in Electro, as well as Orchestral, soundscapes.