Work For Concert Performance:

...but if it were, (2019)


This was commisioned by the lovely Etherow Reeds for a concert of new bass clarinet music.

Listen here:



And they also recorded a piece for regular non-bass clarinets, which on reflection I actually think sounds better:


Carol for our Children (2018)



This was commisioned by fantastic chamber ensemble No Dice Collective as part of their Last Christmas show, around the dual themes of Christmas and The Apocalypse. Not everyone’s cup of tea.





Seeing Sounds:
A Chromesthesia Concert (2019)

       

This was a sold-out show in Chetham’s Carole Nash Hall, which aimed to directly visualise the experience of having chromesthesia, a neurological condition which causes people to see sounds and music as colours in front of their eyes.. The show was part musical concert, part science communication – a string quartet performed four pieces of music, directly visualised by new technology which I developed, which analyses audio and outputs it as coloured light.


“Seeing Sounds: A Chromesthesia Concert”, was developed as part of
Manchester Science Festival.

You can hear the audio from that performance of the show here:



Prior to the concert, I spent years developing the technology.

As part of my master’s degree, I built a system which analyses audio input and outputs it as light in any way the user wants.

Here are some examples - in these videos, the software converts pitch to colour, and loudness to brightness:









And here’s another example, in which I use coloured bells to control the colour of the  lights:



This was all used for my final MA piece, Circles:





 If you’re interested or want to know more, I’d love to
hear from you - get in touch:



I Thought I Was Too Small (2017)



Film credit to Darkfield Visuals

As part of my master’s degree, everyone on the course was asked to write a piece to be performed in the Whitworth Art Gallery’s Andy Warhol exhibit, related to the exhibit. Taking influence from the pop art movement Warhol was part of I wanted to make a piece that would be accessible for any audience. To achieve this, I came up with a piece which used audience volunteers as performers - each performer  puts on a different set of headphones, which tells them how to play their part in real time. One plays prepared guitars, one is on vocals, and one plays a thumb piano. All the sounds they make are sychronised to the same clock, using a Max/MSP program on my laptop, processed live, and played through the speakers. 

I don’t actually like Andy Warhol that much really. The title of the piece comes from an advertisement I found, which Andy Warhol starred in for Drexel Burnham Lambert, a Wall Street investment banking firm, which I thought was the most Andy Warhol thing I’d ever seen.

You can read a much more detailed commentary on this piece, submitted as part of my Master’s degree, here.

You can also read the setup instructions here, and read the score below.

NB: as all instruction to the players is given through headphones, the score is for reference only.





Shreds (2016)


This was a string quartet submission for my undergraduate degree. It was workshopped twice, once by the Villiers Quartet and once by another visiting string quartet.

This piece uses a lot of tapping and pinch harmonic techniques mostly taken from guitar and harp music. I’ll probably come back and revisit it one day if I can find some willing players.




Theatre composition


The Marxist In Heaven (2020)



This play has easily one of the best plots of any I’ve worked on – A Marxist gets into Heaven, accuses the angels of being a fascist heirarchy, starts a revolution and overthrows God.

AND for mysterious plot reasons, everyone in Heaven has to dance to disco music every 30 minutes to keep the world spinning.

This was with the Lowry Young Company as part of the National Theatre Connections programme, which each year commissions ten new plays to be performed across the country by young people aged 13 – 19. They were fantastic to work with and did an amazing job staging the play.

This is the only project I’ve worked on that had as one of its briefs ‘could you teach the cast The Red Flag for the first hour, and then teach them what disco is for the second hour?’

The Lowry run a Young Technician programme to get young people involved in the technical side of the theatre industry, and I was very happy to have Joel, the sound technician on this scheme, helping me put the sound design and score together and running the sound on the night.




The Enchanted (2016/2017)




This was a stage adaptation of Rene Denfeld’s brilliant novel The Enchanted, about a mute prisoner on death row, and the world he imagines around him. I’m part of a theatre group called Pharmacy Theatre - we first staged the show in 2016 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and after a successful run there, staged the show again in London.

I was sound designer and composer for both projects, and you can hear some of this in the video above. One thing I found really useful working on The Enchanted was Matt Rogalsky’s work - he went into the abandoned Kingston Penitentiary and used an audio technique that records how a room sounds, and that can then be applied to any other sound, which saved me a lot of trouble in trying to make things sound realistic. You can hear a piece he made using these techniques here.



Twelfth Night (2015)





In 2015, Pharmacy Theatre (before we put on The Enchanted) staged a disco adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. This was a lot of fun - because we were staging it in a garden, we decided to do the whole thing on acoustic instruments, which ended up being quite a challenge to write disco music on - cello, violin, mandolin, saxophone, percussion, and a trio of singers.

Twelfth Night begins with a shipwreck - the idea for our adapation was that the band were the crewmates, and I as the bandleader was the Captain. This meant I had to deliver the Captain’s lines at the beginning of the play, which I managed to forget every night, and had to replace with extended mandolin solos while I remembered what I was supposed to be saying. Sorry Shakespeare.





Blood Wedding (2015)


Blood Wedding is a Spanish tragedy from the early 20th century, written by Federico García Lorca. The play is really interesting - the first half is a rural drama about two families preparing for the wedding of their children. The second half gets a bit weird - not to spoil anything, but the moon is introduced as a character and all sorts of dark and strange things start happening. This was the first piece I did with the theatre group that would become Pharmacy Theatre.

We had a live string trio playing my score for this, and I was very lucky to collaborate with Tom O’Connor on this, who wrote and performed live electronics. Our creepy moon was played by the super-talented Siwan Clark, a harpist and singer, who set all her lines to music, which she wrote herself, as well as acting. Quadruple threat.

Not About Heroes (2015)


Not About Heroes is a play about the lives of WW1 poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. I collaborated with the very talented Tom Kinsella on the music and sound design for an Oxford production of this. You can hear more of Tom’s music here.

Production work


what are the natural forms? (2017)


I produced and recorded this EP for the fantastic Hannah Ross. You can find her full portfolio of artwork here.

We were really lucky to have ‘Fearing’ (the track on the player above) played by Mary Anne Hobbs on her 6 Music Recommends show as well as her weekend breakfast shows, who had this to say:

‘I really love the emotive and organic nature of this piece [...] I just love the way the piece of music unfolds [...]

I predict that this piece of music will stop you in your tracks’

‘a beauty’


Here’s some more info from the press release...

what are the natural forms?
, the debut EP of Manchester-based singer and artist Hannah Ross, is a collection of solo songs written about broken hearts and aching bones over a summer at home in her native North West. Experiencing the physical pain of a chronic health condition only recently diagnosed, alongside grief for the end of a relationship, her songs deal with how different kinds of hurt can be expressed at once.

Recorded over the space of one day, the songs are unpolished, punctuated by clicks, fuzz, and background noise, producing a sound that is both distinct and circumstantial. Hannah’s voice bears traces of a lifetime spent listening to R’n’B and Soul music, whilst nodding to more recent influences such as King Krule, James Blake and Mac Demarco.

The dreamlike quality of the music parallels the haze of opiates and painkillers, but her lyrics explore more sharply how pain reduces each activity to its starkest, with a heightened awareness of each action that had previously seemed straightforward.


Recorded two years ago with friend and producer David McFarlane and mixed by Jordan Peers, the music stands as testimony to the difficulty of articulating inseparable hardships.

Mary Anne Hobbs selected ‘Fearing’ from what are the natural forms? for her 6 Music Recommends show, then as the Sunriser track for her 6 Music weekend show, and had this to say:

‘in the very first conversation I ever had with her, she made me think more carefully about how people with disabilities can enjoy going to live gigs, and be properly provided for, and I’ll always thank her for that [...] well, I bought it immediately, and among the four stunning tracks is our Sunriser this weekend, it’s my favourite and it’s called ‘Fearing’.’


Mark

Work for installations

Big, Big Toe (2017)

This was a piece a friend of mine, Alex Leigh, asked me to write for a piece of installation art he was making. He asked me to write a song written from the perspective of a man in love with his own big toe. You can see the results in the video below!