Music Product (year one)
Digital release only
Nick Gill - instruments, recording, production.
Throughout 2017, Nick recorded an improvised (or hurriedly-written) piece of music each week, normally while his daughter had a nap, and released it as the Music Product podcast. With other commitments looming, he took a break from working on the podcast, and compiled all the music into this, nearly 5 hour, album. Spanning all manner of styles, genres and instrumentation, there's something in there for everyone (provided they like slightly wonky, drifting, glitchy music)
Digital release only
Nick Gill - guitar, engineering, production.
Live improvisation for electric guitar and effects pedals, recorded in the dark days of January 2017.
Gibson ES-135, Hypergravity (TC Electronics), Dream Sequence (Hologram Electronics), Superego (Electro Harmonix), Particle (Red Panda), Judder (MWFX), Count to five (Montreal Assembly), Flashback X4 (TC Electronics), Space (Eventide), Patchulator 8000 (BoredBrain)
Digital release only
Blasted was Sarah Kane’s first play; it was first performed in 1995 at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London. When it opened, the play was attacked by many critics, many of whom regarded it as a rather immature attempt to shock the audience; the Daily Mail used the headline ‘this disgusting feast of filth’. Dealing with the horrors of civil war, transposed to the UK, it’s now accepted as a modern classic.
Kate Wasserberg’s production was the inaugural show at Wales’s first pub theatre, The Other Room, and opened in February 2015.
Director Kate Wasserberg asked Nick to write an album of music that could exist separate to the production; the rehearsal process then took the script and the music, and used them both to create the world of the play.
Scored for piano, marimba, ondes Martenot, tape & electronics, the album makes use of the UK government’s 'Protect & survive' public information films from the 1970s and ’80s; the album’s structure follows that of the play, with the long, more ambient track ‘After’ soundtracking the desolation of the destroyed world following the explosion.
LP and digital release.
Nicole Robson - 'cello on grey 8: nocturne
Nick Gill - all other instruments, recording, production
Grey season is a selection of ambient, drone and modern composition pieces, some newly-composed for the album, and some reworkings of music from theatre and live performance scores.
The LP is pressed on 180g heavyweight vinyl, with photography by Steve Gullick (www.gullickphoto.com), and the Narrow Bembo type cast and printed letterpress at Hand & Eye Letterpress (www.handandeye.co.uk).
On není jako on
CD and digital release.
Nick Gill - piano, guitar, Korg MS-10, recording, production
Nicole Robson - 'cello
There are only 72 numbered and initialled copies of the CD, entirely printed letterpress. The handmade slipcase is covered in Conqueror laid paper, printed with wooden and metal type, inked in multiple colours with hand rollers, making each case unique. The inner sleeve is set in Bembo Condensed Italic type, and the CDs themselves are finished with a brush pen.
About the play
On není jako on (German: Er nicht als er) is a play by the German Nobel Prize winning writer Elfriede Jelinek, dedicated to the late 19th century Swiss writer Robert Walser (1878-1956).
In 1929 Walser voluntarily committed himself to a sanatorium for the mentally ill, where he wrote very little until his death. The play itself takes place in a psychiatric clinic, and has no protagonist- though the stage directions state that several people are present, none of them are named or described. It’s hard to pin down a definitive meaning in the script, as it’s a meditation on numerous subjects- fairy tales, myths, loneliness, isolation, the nature of art and writing, and ultimately death itself.
This album recording was developed from the score written to accompany a 2011 production at MeetFactory, Prague (dir. Katharina Schmitt), in which Ivana Uhlířová shifted between presenting four characters- a psychiatric doctor, Elfriede Jelinek, Robert Walser and the actor herself. The instrumentation of the score reflects this fracturing of personality, using a combination of acoustic, amplified and electronic instruments.
The music makes use of what Schoenberg termed klangfarbenmelodie (‘tone colour melody’): while traditional composition prizes melody and harmony (in essence, an ear-pleasing sequence of changes in pitch), klangfarbenmelodie instead focuses on changes in timbre and quality of the notes: on a guitar, for example, many notes can be played in different positions on the fretboard, with each note having a different quality.
On není jako on uses this principle by way of a simple, four chord structure spread across the instruments, repeating and restating the melody lines in different octaves and rhythmic patterns, using a variety of playing techniques to produce the notes, as well as numerous combinations of the instruments themselves, to create a constantly changing sound within a static harmonic structure.
Just as the idea of character and meaning are buried in the dense writing, so the music is swathed in crackle and hum, along with processed recordings of the rehearsal process, whose volume swells and fades around the instruments. The result is a slowly-developing piece that immerses the listener in the opaque world of the play, and the mind of a writer isolated of his own free will.