2015 – the halfway point: an update

Goodness, it’s been some months since I posted on here. Which is not to say that I haven’t had anything to talk about, just a lack of time to talk about it. A mixture of events and obstacles – some work related, some not – as well as moving house, has kept me from setting the kind of routine for the blog that might make it worthwhile. Consider this the point at which I attempt to make amends and begin said routine!

So, what’s new?

The Requiem

Around Feb/March time, I started collaborating with a game dev team called Flux Entertainment as they got to work on a new and ambitious title. The Requiem is a horror RPG that uses a meticulous narrative and its unique setting to bring a twist to a well established genre. Set in the present day UK, the game focuses on a handyman named Adam Phillips who survives the aftermath of a devastating biological attack and must struggle against new threats, in a world where society as we know it is made of little more than memories and crumbling buildings. One of the most interesting aspects of the production is how urban and rural areas of the UK are to be modelled in great detail to achieve maximum authenticity in the environments as well as the characters as the story progresses.

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The Requiem will allow players to explore accurately re-created parts of post-apocalyptic England and Wales.

Development is still in its early stages, but I’m looking to have the soundtrack invoke an eerie calm as much as possible. When writing for horror there is a temptation to draw from the most immediate themes, emphasise the unnatural and shock the listener where possible. One wants to make the nightmare seem, simultaneously, so real and yet also not-of-this-world. I thought about this and considered how I might achieve a couple of things: firstly, how to make the music less about the present horrors of The Requiem‘s world and more about what has been wiped away by the apocalypse (and how much of this might remain); and secondly, how to assist in defining the experience as a very ‘British’ affair. Thus far, I’ve been quite inspired by the original and selected music for Danny Boyle’s brilliant 28 Days Later. Although John Murphy’s main theme is panicky and aggresive, the score really shines when the film haunts us with how peaceful the world is. Along that vein, I’ve also been listening to some more ambient and soundscapey guitar music, including The Future Sound of London and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I’ve also been playing with a lot of radio static, found voices and sounds, and my trusty acoustic guitar of course.

Your best port of call for updates at the moment will be the Facebook page and you can expect to hear more and more about it very soon as the project takes shape.

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Marie De France’s ‘Bisclavret’ with The Liverpool University Players

You may remember The Liverpool University Players from my work with them on The Canterbury TalesI’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to compose for them once again, this time for a production of Bisclavret (The Werewolf) in conjunction with the UK’s national festival of the humanities this year: Being Human 2015. The performance will be part of a presentation on ‘Being Supernatural’ by Professor Sarah Peverley to be shown at The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in November, and promises to be a fascinating take on how medieval literature uses fantastic and imaginative realms to consider the human condition.

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Bisclavret (The Werewolf) is one of the twelve Lais of Marie de France written in the 12th century.

Bisclavret is a Breton Lai (a form of medieval French and English romance literature) and uses themes of the supernatural and fairytale Celtic motifs to tell the story of a werewolf who is trapped in lupine form by the treachery of his wife. I don’t have all that much to say about the music for this at present, but, much as I did with Untold, I hope to reprise and refine a neo-medieval sound and make use of genuine period instrumentation to draw the audience into the world of the performance.

Read more about the The University of Liverpool’s contributions the UK’s national festival of the humanities here.

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…and the rest

My Glossom bandmates and I have got some big plans for the remainder of this year, including new releases and new gigs. I’ve been playing with some new toys in the studio (and plan to blog about them where appropriate). That, along with some new projects coming soon that you’ll hear about when the time comes, I intend to be posting on this site more often. Partially to keep those of you who are interested in the loop, but also as an exercise for myself to keep things documented and ticking over. If you want to weigh in on any of this, feel free to drop in a comment below or shoot me a message on the Contact form. Until next time!

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