sEQuenz





From lush ambient soundscapes to kicking dance music, from settings of Gertrude Stein poetry to the words of Martin Luther King, the variety of  possible worlds opened up by the tools of electronic music is vast. Click on the icons to the left to try some out....

All music copyright Steve Hawker


Speech Music

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The Making of Americans - a poem by Gertrude Stein

From 1906 onwards, Picasso was the great artist and friend in Gertrude Stein's life. He made a portrait of her, and she wrote the poem "A Portrait of Picasso". Her poetry explores in words much of what Picasso explored in Cubism - the altered perspectives that come from seeing things from different angles. Their work meets at the juncture of the visual and the verbal, and I was intrigued by the musical possibilities.

Picasso portrays his figures by breaking away from the traditional artistic sense of perspective. This perspective was derived from the use by artists of the "camera obscura" since the Renaissance, where images are captured and frozen: the viewpoint being fixed, with the lines of perspective converging at a theoretical point of infinity. Whilst their sense of space seems to capture the "reality" of a scene, the fixed viewpoint also has the effect of freezing time - the observer cannot move around. Picasso instead reveals his figures from different viewing positions, so as your eye moves, you can see the back and the sides of a figure, present and past, a sense of the inherent animation of the figures.

Stein explores similar changes in perspective in her poetry, by repeating phrases and varying them subtly. By moving around phrases, their meaning is mutable and comes to life in the listener's own space. My musical interpretation of this track also uses repetition and changing perspective through use of different time signatures and time stretch, to create a sound world to compliment Stein's.

download Copulating Shellfish

I've been experimenting with field recordings and the way speech has a much more potent emotional impact when combined with music. There's a balance to be struck between "interpreting" the speech through the music (to create a single "perspective" and so risking stamping my own slant on the meanings of the words), and allowing the musical qualities of language to inform the music (allowing the voices to become musical instruments which can resonate with the listener's own sense of meaning). I find this junction between music and meaning to be an interesting one. This field recording was made with an M-Audio MicroTrack sound recorder and captured a surprising conversation at Gwynver beach. To be taken with a pinch of seasalt ;)



Upbeat

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I Have a Dream

With the inspiring words of Martin Luther King's most famous speech, this track unfolded all by itself. "I have a dream.... let freedom ring"

download Marazion

Marazion is a village in Cornwall right at the end of the St. Michaels ley line, looking out over Mounts Bay to the castle perched on top of the magical island of St. Michael's Mount. There's such a strong energy to the place that I had to try and capture some of it in music. I've done a pure electronica version of this track which is more straight dance music, but this version has some guitar on it from Paul Pisciotto. He got these amazing ambient sounds out of his FXed guitar, getting some of the classic Eno/Fripp quality to his sound. So I had to do a remix.

download New Dawn

This track is a mix of medieval brass, jazz trumpet, and dance music.

download Dubya and Friends

Part pisstake, part nightmare, with an ambient backing track.

download Rhodes Island

Chilled out Rhodes piano with lush pads, ethnic percussion, and driving rhythms. This track features some more of Paul's guitar playing, from hypnotic trance patterns to spaced out effects.

download Ozone (ninja remix)

The inspiration for this track was found when I came across some samples when searching at the weirder end of the internet. Out of the white noise of short wave radio there occasionally emerges disembodied voices endlessly repeating patterns of numbers, nursery rhymes, and all sorts of other random stuff. The best guess is that they are codes broadcast to spies and other cold-warriors out in the field. They are in all sorts of languages and are broadcast from countries all over the world. They form a kind of world music of the underworld. Kinda spooky....


All mixed in with some electronica and all sorts of other sounds from around the world.


Soundtrack

download Entering a courtyard

Using field recordings in music really enhances the story-telling aspects of music. It stimulates the imagination allowing the minds eye to visualize what is happening.

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Eastern Cityscape

Flying across a city at night in the far east. A mix of serene detachment, and an anticipation at the turbulent worlds just below the surface.


Ambient Tracks

download Agnus Dei

Chilled out Rhodes piano with lush pads, ethnic percussion, and driving rhythms. This track features some more of Paul's guitar playing, from hypnotic trance patterns to spaced out effects.

download Tintagel

This track was inspired by a visit to Tintagel - home of King Arthur - a ruined castle on the clifftops of the Atlantic. Its a mix of hypnotic moog sounds, birdcalls, piano and orchestral writing. Its an attempt to capture some of the dark mystery of a beautiful place that has been the scene of epic tales of love, war, the magic of Merlin and home of the kinghts of the round table.

download Siren Song

The haunting song of the sirens coming out of the waves, luring the sailors to their deaths on the rocks. Their hearts aching in the face of the sirens' beauty, they forget themselves and feel the call of the depths, never to come back....