A new video is up on my YouTube channel. This week, it’s a cover of the main theme from the film Ju-on: The Grudge. It’s one of my favourite films – it manages to create a feeling of deep melancholy and inevitability, and the music and sound design play a huge part in that.
The theme is pretty simple – it’s in E minor and most of the chords are diatonic – only the third inversion Fmaj7 near the end is out of key (and only one note of it). However, melodically there’s a fair amount of chromaticism and in the original there’s a high part that is very chromatic.
At the beginning, there’s an immediate sense of sadness but as the theme progresses, I think it captures a feeling of hopelessness. The use of the tonic pedal helps create that feeling of not being able to move forwards.
If you enjoy the performance, please subscribe to my channel! There’ll be more performance videos of both covers and my own compositions, plus new compositions will usually end up there before release. I’m also in the process of scripting some teaching videos.
For some reason, I didn’t post last week, despite releasing a new video over on YouTube, so this week I have two videos to share!
The first is a cover of Anna’s Theme from a survival horror video game called Tormented Souls. It provides a strong contrast to a lot of the other music in game, which is designed to build tension. This piece is a piano solo and captures a combination of emptiness, longing, nostalgia and loss.
This week’s video is a performance of one of my own compositions – the one that started my journey as a composer. I actually wrote the initial draft of it back in 2013 and it’s gone through multiple revisions over the years before I settled on this one. If you’ve listened to my recent album, you’ll know it already. Despite having written it so long ago, I think that it’s still one of the strongest melodies that I’ve written.
I’m excited to announce that I have a new video on my YouTube channel! This one contains a rock arrangement of one of my earlier piano tracks, titled ‘To Arms!’. For anyone that prefers rock to solo piano, this is for you! If you’re a fan of epic (in the original sense of the word) guitar solos, please have a listen. The solo in this piece was written by the fantastic Ainsley Stones, (who plays in the band Girl Gone Bad), and is the first of two collaborations we’ve done recently.
I’d also like to thank Thomas Slimm for writing the drum part and James Aldred for listening to the track a great many times and offering mixing advice.
If you want to hear the track without the sound effects from the game, there’s a Soundcloud link in the video description.
I’m happy to announce that I have a new type of video up on my YouTube channel. I suspect anyone that played video games in the 90s might be interested, and anyone who wants to see how music does a lot of work to create atmosphere for old 2D games should check it out as well.
It’s a proof of concept for an early area of a game that I’d like to make. It’s in the style of old JRPGs (Japanese Role-Playing Games) like Final Fantasy and features the piece of music that I wrote back in 2013 that has inspired almost all of my recent musical projects. It was made in RPG Maker MV and was a chance for me to learn how to loop a track correctly from specific points and design a level and dialogue to fit with the music.
I’m really interested to hear what people think about it – do you feel that the visual design matches the mood of the music? Is the atmosphere as oppressive as the track name suggests?
Hello, everybody! Today I released the final version of my Variations on We Wish You a Merry Christmas. I ended up adding just one more variation to the previous version, but feel that it finishes things off nicely. It was loosely inspired by Rachmaninov’s gentler work.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done any kind of musical performance, as I tend to prefer the writing and recording process more than playing live. That said, I’m experimenting with what kinds of videos might be interesting for my YouTube channel, so I recorded on of the pieces from my recent album. Please check it out and let me know what you think.
If you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my channel. I plan on putting up a variety of different types of videos, including performances (both original and covers), my thoughts on various aspects of learning music and how to make them simpler, analyses of music from other people, and new compositions.
Many thanks to Iryna Zastavna for spending a lot of time figuring out the best places for the candles and how to do the lighting. She’s completely new to such things and she did a great job! The overall image quality is a bit low because the camera on my phone doesn’t deal very well with low light.
Since Christmas is on the way, I thought I’d dig out a set a variations that I wrote on the theme of We Wish You a Merry Christmas years ago for a pupil of mine. She was from China and not really familiar with traditional English Christmas carols, or with much in the way of Western Classical music, so I wrote these variations as a way of combining both of those things.
They are very (very) loosely in the styles of Bach, Clementi, Schubert and Beethoven, but are only pastiches aiming to evoke the feeling of those composers – if anyone who knows their music well takes a look, I’m sure they’ll be able to pick them apart. My original plan was to write a couple more variations in Romantic styles – if anyone is interested in hearing that, let me know and I’ll give it a shot.
Hello, everybody! I’m delighted to announce the release of my first solo piano album, Let the Journey Begin! Though I’ve always dabbled with composition and song writing, I’ve never been very good at taking my ideas to completion. During the pandemic, as I’ve had fewer lessons to teach, I decided to finally finish a project. This album is the result of 10 months of writing and recording. It includes ideas that go back as far as 2013 as well as completely new ones.
I’ve always loved older video game soundtrack, especially those from the 90s and early 2000s. The music had a lot of work to do, as graphical limitations and lack of disc space often meant that facial expressions and voice acting were limited. The music had to carry the scene, let players know how the characters were feeling and tell the story.
This is what I’ve tried to capture as I was writing this music. As the majority of my prior experience is in writing pop and rock songs, this project forced me to get outside my usual habits of writing and learn experiment with form, texture, harmony, and rhythm.
My album is available to purchase on Bandcamp (click the link to be taken to my Bandcamp page). For the princely sum of £6, you’ll receive not only the audio, but also sheet music for every track. If you feel that my music is worth your money, this is a great way to support me as most of the money comes to me – Bandcamp takes a small cut of the sale compared to most distributors.
If you prefer to stream music, you can listen on Spotify or on YouTube.
The cover artwork for my album was done by the wonderful Shannon Leslie. She works in traditional media and I highly recommend checking out her website: https://www.shannonleslieart.com/
I’m excited to post that, I’m now a student teacher in the Feldenkrais Method. In October of this year, several of my fellow trainees and I completed the first two years of the Chiemsee 7 International Feldenkrais Training. Part of that involved teaching two Awareness Through Movement classes under observation of our trainers.
What does that mean? It means I’m now able to teach Awareness Through Movement classes to the public and will be doing so at 7pm on Friday evenings from the Kyogikan dojo, home of the Steel City Aikido Club. The dojo is located in the Devonshire Business Park and there are admirable directions on the dojo’s website. (click for link)
From January 2015, classes will be £5 per person, or £4 if more than four people attend. Your first class free.
It’s obviously great to have this opportunity to teach this unique method of learning to the public to help them greater awareness of themselves so they can learn to move more easily and gracefully and without aches and pains.
For more details, please check out this page on my teaching website.