Eric Whitacre’s short composition exercise

Last night I thought I’d try a short composition challenge that composer Eric Whitacre mentions in a video interview titled ‘It’s Not a Failure, It’s An Invitation’. In it, he says that the requirements for this exercise are to write a piece that is:
– Less than 60 seconds long
– Contains only 4 tones (in my case Eb, F, Gb and Bb)
– It must be finished in one night
And what came out was this short tale of woe on the piano.

It’s an unusual task, as simple as it seems, and can force an ephemeral mood or thought to be presented in a confident and complete manner. I remember doing tasks such as these during my education, but I recommend all musicians of all ages and levels to regularly try such exercises that push one’s creativity into a tiny little box. I can reflect on the minutiae of the piece – where it goes wrong and where it goes right – and learn something about my abilities that I might not have otherwise. Good things can come in small packages.

The Little Mermaid – audiobook released

Earlier this year I worked with The Liverpool Players and storyteller Madelaine Smart to create music for their live performance of The Little Mermaid – you can read a bit more about it in my 2016 roundup. We had several great performances at the Being Human Festival launch (for which the show was originally commissioned)  at Senate House, London and at The Walker Gallery, Liverpool, but it looks like there will be more in 2017 as well.

The past week or so, we’ve put together an audiobook version of the performance that’s perfect for kids and parents looking to get lost in the fantastical world of Hans Christian Anderson’s mermaids. We’ve been truer to the original than the Disney version, and there’s something to be said for this adaptation’s messages of selflessness and the pitfalls of being swept up in a wishful fairytale ending. It was great fun writing music to this as the tale treads the lines of innocence, hope and fear very neatly, and I got a bit lost myself in how magical we wanted it to be for our younger audience members – not least in part to Madelaine’s enchanting solo performance.

It’s a totally free audiobook brought to you from the national festival of the humanities – Being Human – and The Liverpool Players, so if you’ve got some little’uns who might enjoy a mermaid tale over the holiday season then give it a listen.

Updated Patterna Soundtrack

After the initial release of logic puzzle game Patterna (now available on Steam, in case I haven’t pointed that out enough times yet) developer Sebastian Schoener had me write a couple of extra pieces for the soundtrack, both of which were added in a recent December update. If you own the game they’ll be added to the music rotation in game, and if you don’t own the game then you should ’cause it’s cheap, full of content and you’d be supported a hard-working developer! In the meantime, check out the two latest tracks below – download available here.

End of 2016 Roundup

I’m back! Though in truth I’ve never really been away. It’s just that proceedings have been disorderly over the past few months because I’ve had limited access to the internet (until now, hooray!) and that’s mostly due to the process of moving house – an arduous affair that had me in limbo far longer than I expected. So here’s a quick round up of everything that’s happened since my last post and what will be happening before the end of the year.

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A highlight of the year – Glossom playing our London debut at Brixton East, 12.11.16

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Patterna now available on Steam

Huge congratulations are due to developer Sebastian Schoener as his game finally lands on Steam, featuring music from yours truly. At the time of writing it’s on sale for about £4 so I urge you to pick it up and support all his hard work. Find it by visiting the store page or searching for Patterna on the Steam client.

Also, yes it has been a while since I’ve written here. The whole site will be getting an update soon – all will be explained then!

Patterna now available on Steam

Farewell from the other side of the world

First message from Nick

This was the first message I received from Nick on the Eastern Front forums back in 2011. I was in the process of writing the music for Company of Heroes: Eastern Front and had been posting various pieces to give the community an impression of the soundtrack prior to completion. And then, having not asked for any donations at all, I got this from a complete stranger. I was very grateful for his support, but never would have expected the generosity that followed from just one fan from Australia.

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