In a compositional team with DJ Tigerstyle and drummer David Shaw, we were commissioned by Indy Hunjan of Kala Phool to re-score the classic Indian film Mother India for live performance along to a showing of the film. The film was re-edited into a silent 45 minute version for the show by Josh Ford. The album was mixed by Ollie Pile and is purchasable from the Kala Phool website.
So far we have performed the show at The South Bank in London, The Sydney Opera House, Esplanade Park in Singapore, the Bandshell in Prospect Park NYC, The Arts Centre in Melbourne, The Edinburgh Festival and many other excellent venues.
Shown below are a couple of tracks that I wrote for Mother India 21st Century Remix. The first, Jhaptal, is the finale of the show and follows a retrospective of the relationship between Birju and his mother in anticipation of the film’s tragic conclusion. The title of the track, Jhaptal is a reference to an Indian Tala which is used in the track but in an unusual way, alternating between a conventional and then reversed version of itself.
The second track, Metamorphosis, depicts the change in Radha’s children from boys into men in parallel with their storm destroyed land being transformed into a rich farm through years of gruelling labour. This track was also included on the official compilation album of the 2009 WOMEX conference, distributed to all delegates.
Both tracks make use of extended ornamented melodies in a subtle tribute to the great songs of Naushad which made the original Mother India Film such a massive worldwide hit.
See my portfolio entry for the Mother India project here
Music written for the documentary film Buried Alive.
A selection of music from the documentary film ‘Buried Alive’. TV Presenter and Psychic Ian Lawman was buried under two tonnes of soil at Dudley castle in 2011 for seven days in a gruelling test of human endurance. It was filmed for documentary by EFJ Film.
The documentary follows Ian as he prepares for the feat, has his coffin made and consults with various people on making the event work. Ian was also given a camera to record his personal thoughts and feelings through the process and he took this camera underground with him, the feed from which was broadcast live on the internet through the course of his burial.
The score comprised of several European musical influences and was based around piano and ‘cello with the addition of some less common sounds such as a hammered dulcimer put through distortion and the amazing new instrument the hang drum.
The first track below – Title Credits – was the first track written for the project as a demo but remained in the film for the final cut. Written for a bashed about upright piano, two ‘cellos and a distorted hammered dulcimer it outlines the main musical themes for the film.
Although the title of Walk to the Scaffold references Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, that is as far as the reference extends. This minimalist tune for piano, rhodes, cello and hang drum underscores Ian’s final preparations, his emotional farewell to his wife, his arrival through the crowd to his burial site (hence the title) and his lowering into the ground.
Full Moon is written for piano and cello – a mood piece used several times during the film where it was required. The only orchestral piece in the film, A Strange Gathering, reflects a mystical performance mood with a dark edge while on screen circus performers entertain the crowd that has formed to watch the burial event.
Resurrection is another minimalist piece, this time for solo piano and it underscores the efforts to dig up the coffin and return Ian to us after the seven days are up.
My portfolio entry for Buried Alive can be found here