My music – the melody that keeps coming back…

I’ve recently invested in an iPad mini and I’ve been having fun with the music making tools that are available on iOS. When playing around with a sequencing/sampling/synth app called Nano Studio I found myself returning to a melody that started life as the middle movement of a string quartet I wrote at University. The string quartet movement itself is quite a sombre affair (there are shades of Barber’s Adagio for Strings in there) and the recording I made of it had added poignancy as the first violin had recently lost her father. In the year following University I was back in Oxford sharing a house with my friend Chris from Uni (he’d got a job (that we’d both applied for) at a local studio technology company) and one of his colleagues. During this time Chris and I worked on a few musical projects together and one of them is this re-imagined version of the string quartet theme. One of the biggest records of that summer had been Children by Robert Miles and the sound of that record is definitely part of genetic makeup of this track. We actually recorded this at the demo studio of the company Chris worked for – I can’t remember if we lugged my PC in (I think it would have been running Windows 3.1 with the Cakewalk sequencer software) or if we MIDI dumped everything to a floppy based MIDI recorder I had. Either way we multi-tracked the parts onto tape so we had more flexibility with the studio’s setup of effects, compressors and EQ. Sadly I never got a proper ‘master’ on DAT – this was copied from cassette – but listening to it now I’m surprised at how well it stands up. It does sound unmistakably mid-90s, but the arrangement is great and the key change (which was the cause of much debate) still makes me smile.

Sadly I lost touch with Chris (and indeed all the folk I knew at Uni) after I moved out of the house share and bought my first flat. Last time I looked him up he was still working for the same company, based out in China, so he seems to be doing OK. One thing that looking back on this track does remind me is that I work best in collaboration. This track is 15 years old now and is probably the high point of quite a creative time…

My songs – Intercontinental

This track started life when I was learning to use the new software that I had bought for work – Cubase VST. It has a very Massive Attacky vibe and I am very pleased with it. So pleased in fact that I asked Antti Lehtola (one of the many people who I have come to know through newsgroups) to write lyrics for it. When he tragically died I asked Joy Green to write the lyrics for me as a tribute to him. Chris Naden offered to sing it for me and I we were all very pleased with the end result. Apologies to Joy if the lyrics are incorrect – I couldn’t find my original references – so had to transcribe the lyrics from recordings.

My love I know you’re beautiful
Though I’ve never seen your face
Its there in every line you write
A touch of truth, a touch of grace

And though we’re hours and miles apart
And we cannot even touch
I can feel you in my heart tonight
And I want you oh so much

They like to call it fantasy
I guess its hard to understand
How a love so deep
Can grown without the touch of lips or hand
But you and I know different
Love comes in different kinds
And what we have is a meeting of our souls, our hearts and minds

I feel like you are next to me
Feel your fingers on my skin
I can hear you in my mind my love
Breathing out as I breathe in

I smell the jasmine on your hair
Taste the sweetness in your kiss
And I wonder if reality could truly be more real than this

And your beauty is a light to me
Shining through the darkest night
The words we share are all it takes
To make the world feel good and right

And even if we should never meet
Never kiss and never hold
I will keep you in my heart my love
until the sun burns dark and cold

Music by Stewart Tolhurst
Words by Joy Green
Stewart Tolhurst: Synthesisers and programming
Chris Naden: Singing
Contains a sample of ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’ by Radiohead

My music – two tracks born of the same idea

These two instrumental tracks both come from the same melodic source. I really can’t remember which version I wrote first – it was such a long time ago! I can’t quite decide if they are remixes, re-interpretations or independent tracks in their own right. Certainly they are musical siblings, if not twins…

This version is an ambient soundscape and gradually evolves.

This is a more structured ‘dance’ take on the same theme.