Category: Musings

Field recordings & music video projects from my GSMD students…

After Christmas, all my teaching at Guildhall School of Music and Drama went online again… As a way to get everyone making things, and getting outside, I set some of them the task of capturing some audio and visual footage in their area, and turning it into some kind of music video. The students shared their creative processes with each other throughout the project, and then presented their creations via Zoom… I was so blown away with what they came up with that I encouraged them to share the videos with the world… Here are some of them:

Flo Redmonds Duck Fight

Note from Flo: My video ‘Duck Fight’ is based on a field recording I took of some ducks fighting out the back of Guildhall. It was made using my phone to record the original audio and the video, and logic pro X to produce the music.  

Leon Middleton On the Train

Note from Leon: I filmed and edited the videos on my phone, documenting my trip by underground to Chalfont and Latimer. I then wrote the music to fit the film having been inspired by my journey, using stock Garageband sounds to get the desired feel.

Owen Eastwood Mind The Doors

Note from Owen: I recorded a tube journey and then manipulated very short loops from the recording to create synthesisers such as the main polysynth and plucks that you hear, which I then used alongside traditional synths/synth-bass and drums to create a funk house beat. It’s interspersed with atmosphere, vocal and build up sounds all built from the recording.

Jo Rotunno Past, Present & Future

Note from Jo: I wanted to create something of reflection over the current times we’re living in, as well as the importance of letting go of the past and the hopeful though uncertain future. A collection of videos from my hometown in Northern Italy combined with a track I wrote over the 1st March 2020 lockdown with pianist Tom Phelan and an addition of a spoken words section done over the 3rd February 2021 lockdown. Never like in these times the world is needing creativity and art expression to lift heavy hearts… thanks for watching.

Jamie Holman Hosanna

Note from Jamie: Hosanna is about a man who has seen the darkness and decided that darkness is bad. He tries light the darkness using his song like a burning torch but people worry that this torch might set them on fire so they run away from him.
I used my android phone camera, final cut, cubase and a cheap condenser mic. 


I just thought I’d share some things that my ears have been loving recently…

First up is a new album from bassist-composer-producer Michael Olatuja called ‘Lagos Pepper Soup’, available here:

An incredible vision for an album, and soooo much joy. Here’s a video of one of the tracks called ‘Soki’ which features legends Dianne Reeves and Lionel Loueke

Next up is a piece called “i only bite because you make me” by Yshani Perinpanayagam, for piano synchronised to a perfect game of snake. It was written for “The Pixel Players” hosted by Royal Concert Hall Nottingham and the National Videogames Arcade, March 2019. I think this is just a brilliant, inventive piece of writing.

Next one… admittedly I’m a bit biased, this is a video of my good friend Louise McMonagle performing Heinz Holliger’s ‘Chaconne’ for solo cello. I’m writing Louise my own solo piece at the moment, so I’ve been checking out the details of this incredible composition, and Louise’s brilliant performance of it!

Finally, I’ve discovered these amazing string quartets by Eleanor Alberga… These are just EVERYTHING I want to hear in string quartet writing… Happy listening everyone!

Muted Lines (and Tap Dance)

Last year I commissioned Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian to write for My Iris (my band) and the Emulsion Sinfonietta. The new work ‘Muted Lines’ appears on my latest album ‘My Iris’, was toured during January and received its full-scale premiere at Emulsion V on January 27th 2017.

For some time now I have been meaning to put up my latest album’s liner notes that relate to ‘Muted Lines’ and my response/sister piece ‘Tap Dance (for Baby Dodds)’ and so here they are:

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Latest investigations…

Here’s a few things I’ve been investigating this week…

Joanne Brackeen – Six Ate, with Billy Hart & Cecil McBee… and this video (thanks Nikki Iles) with Joe Henderson, Kim Clarke and Keith Killgo

And Joe Henderson’s quartet with Kim Clarke, Renee Rosnes & Sylvia Cuenca

Trois preludes et fugues – Marcel Dupre (thanks Ross Stanley)… also Herbert Howell’s Rhapsodies for Organ

Alice Coltrane doc on BBC Radio 3
(and her records in general)

Jimi Hendrix & Larry Young jamming on “Nine to the Universe”

Questlove talking about working with D’Angelo:

I’ve also been reading more George Lewis’ “A Power Stronger Than Itself” and Lydia Goehr’s “The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works”