album  the tcd collection (2003/2004) 

After a slight lull in writing music, brought on by a nasty bout of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin's Music and Media Technology group was instrumental in putting me back on track. This fantastic course introduced me to new areas and techniques, though in a couple of cases, tracks draw on previous works as a basis for new explorations in various areas of sound...

God's house

One of my favourites, among the pieces of my own making, this is an unholy fusion of reverent church vocal and organ music, displaced by satanic synths and a phat beat. Saying that, I'm eager to remix it, and take some of the squelch out of the beat. I'm still waiting to hear back from Songs of Praise...


Written as a submission for a course on minimalist music, this track draws on influences from Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Two foundations underpin the opus: the first is a short melody, which is overlapped with varying delays and and various integral tempos; the second is a simple descending scale on strings akin to Arvo Pärt. I particularly like the bit beginning just after 4:10...

neptune's wrath

Drawing on the previous track's minimalist theme, this track combines Pärt's tintinnabuli style with a romantic narrative. The piece, which is best played with the volume on '11', tells the story of a small fishing vessel that sets sail in seemingly calm weather, only to fall victim to a storm, which gains ferocity as the piece goes on. It was performed live in Dublin in 2004, with David Adams at the piano, before an increasingly-choppy 30ft video seascape (see photo).

ad infinitum

The goal of this exercise was to compose a piece of no less than 12 minutes duration, which again encouraged a voyage into minimalism. The music comprises a gradually evolving texture of harmonies, synths, voices and strings, with an underlying theme of infinity, introduced by the whispered words, "To define recursion, we must first define recursion"...

the child

This piece was a 'reimaging' of an earlier work of mine (see first album). This new approach was conducted using a sequencer, rather than a tracker, and uses professional orchestral and choral samples. With the equivalent of a 75-piece orchestra (excluding choir), the added realism brings significantly more prescense to the offering.

saint nimmerlein's eve (reprise)

As with "The Child", this former piece of mine benefitted from a reversion utilising professional orchestral samples and a sequencer. The new arrangement is more of a classical take, but retains much of the original's 'traditional' flair, with the previous' rock beat has been replaced for a more ethnic performance (e.g. tablas).

through the haze (reprise)

This piece also drew on a previous work (see second album), albeit sometimes loosely. The new take incorporates live acoustic performances on bass, guitar, piano and drums, and combines it with synthesizers and sound effects. The piece addresses criticisms, from magazine reviews, of the original - and features the unique acoustics of Trinity's School of Engineering foyer.

the lost art of romance

Armed with only 5 audio files (samples) and the standard features (plugins excluded) of Sonic Foundary's Sound Forge 5, this was an assignment to produce a piece of music with limited resources. The samples included: a conveyor belt, a door closing, an extract of percussion from a piece by Edgar Varese, a single violin note and a sample of a far-eastern string instrument. Far from the atonal / dissonant submission that was probably expected from the students, I rebelled to bring something that appealled more to my aesthetic.

magic fly (revisited)

Produced this one for my Dad (for Father's Day no less), who - like me - still remembers the classic 1977 hit by Didier Marouani & Space with fondness. This was one of the first ever outings for my tracker plugin, reViSiT, used for the drum programming and bass, back when it was still just an alpha version - but it still allowed me to get the most from a sequencer and a tracker, together.

the saint

In this assignment, rather than writing the music, I programmed the synthesis engine. The MIDI file (sourced from the Internet) was based on Orbital's remix of the theme from the film, "The Saint". Using a programming language, called CSound, the track employs synthesis methods such as AM and FM, and also uses samples to provide a percussion track.

ballymun concrète

This was part of a community project a friend and I did with the Women's Resource Centre in Ballymun, Dublin. We gave the girls a mic and a MiniDisc recorder and sent them out to record the sounds of their neighbourhood, which we then used to build a piece of music (using trackers). First presented at axis in Dublin in 2004, the piece found its way onto BBC Radio 4 NI and appeared as incidental music in the BBC One drama series, 55 Degrees North.

the grandfather clock

Providing sharp relief from the grittiness of the previous track, this work was a simple exercise in working on harmonic progressions and developing melodies from harmonies (and vice versa).

space exploration (stereo mix)

The goal of this exercise was to "engage with surround sound". The music simply combines the harmonies and melodies of The Grandfather Clock (above) with synthesized sounds and drums, in a 5.1 mix. Though the stereo version provided doesn't capture the original, the music was not the point. One of the problems with 5.1 is that it is not always easy for the listener to localise a sound, without some kind of visual cue. Thus, supporting the audio, each musical element appears as a shape in a 3D video schematic of the space, allowing the audience to see, as well as hear, the sounds as they fly around*.
* at some point I'll try to upload the video to YouTube.

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All content, including code and media, (c) Copyright 2004 Chris Nash.