Mostar, Bosnia, September 1992, Bosnian soldier plays the piano in the destroyed music

Current inspiration for new compositions… timelapse photography. I’m getting a little obsessive about it. Eep!


Light up your desk area with the Tetris Desk Lamp!

“TearTris" by Eugenia Loli.
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Red - (Sally’s-shopfront-studio-rough-n-ready-remix)
text and music by Sally Whitwell.

Note to self: I should just put my compositions out into world more often. Put this song out there an hour ago and have had three expressions of interest already.

Here’s the words and the blurb

Red river of life
Red runs in the veins
Red turns the mill that pumps the heart
Red river it flows
Red beneath that skin
Red turns the mill that pumps the heart

And the fire
And the spark
And the fire
And the zipzapzoom.

Red liquid energy
Red runs in the veins
Red pulse is powered through the limbs
Red liquid energy
Red feeding the core
Red pulse is powered through the limbs

And the fire
And the spark
And the fire
And the zipzapzoom.

You know the one.
The one with the x ray vision
Sees straight through your position
Despite all your protestation
They know you

Choral music is one of my favourite genres of music, but it is tricky for us atheists to find choral repertoire that really resonates with us personally. Much of the greatest choral music in history was designed specifically for Christian contexts; Medieval plainchant, JS Bach’s Cantatas, Rachmaninov’s Vespers… It’s little wonder really, the Christian church has constructed the perfect buildings for a particular kind of choral music, beautifully resonant stone chambers with incredibly high vaulted ceilings. The sound bounces around in there until you’re surrounded by this magical echoing that, well, it’s hard to describe. Whilst it’s really wonderful, it’s not personal for me so I often feel a little disconnected from it.

Fortunately the choral and vocal ensemble repertoire is constantly developing and these days those of us who aren’t so driven to sing to the glory of god have opportunities to find places to sing about other things that matter to us. I believe in science and I have quite a few scientist friends who also happen to sing in choirs. The other night, I was awake at ridiculous o’clock with insomnia and fell into one of those Youtube rabbit holes that you do when you’re bored. I am not sure how I came to be watching it, but I found this mesmerisingly hypnotic animation of red blood cells coursing through an artery and felt inspired to write a song about it. The song’s about the blood itself, the life force, but it’s also about scientists as people and how they seem to know so much more about us mere mortals than we could ever know ourselves. I find it kind of intimidating, as well as kind of wonderful. Haha.

moonlightofday asked:
Have you watched The Hours or at least heard the soundtrack by Phillip Glass? It's so beautiful (both things)

Yes! Absolutely beautiful film, so moving. I recorded the solo piano version of “Dead Things” on my first album actually. Am very attached to that piece!

His Solo Piano Etudes are a wonderful thing. I’m so privileged to have the opportunity to perform them with him in Brooklyn in December. Cannot wait!

Bill Fitzgibbons, LightRails, (2013). 

And yet another of my students comes over to the dark side… They keep asking me if they can play some Philip Glass. I didn’t encourage them, not at all, promise, but I guess my love of this music has to rub off somehow. Subliminal. Minimal. Mmm yes.

After I go to play this concert with Mr. Glass in Brooklyn in December, I shall make sure to bring home the scores for the Etudes. They’ll be released by then. Can’t wait!


You practice and you get better. It’s very simple. - Philip Glass

This song is inspired by a walk I took in my local neighbourhood with my mum. It’s about how the slightly grubby city streets are my happy place.

Here’s the words;


The rhythm of one foot in front of the other
The leaves and the sticks and the chip packets cover
The cracks in the pavement, but nothing could smother
The bright blazing sun
The hum of the traffic, I find it so soothing
Multi-hued streams of vehicles moving
The whole of the city it seems to be grooving
To it’s own beat.

'Cause right on my doorstep is my happy place
Puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face
Can you see in these eyes even the slightest trace
Of concern for your opinion?

Maybe for you it’s the call of the wild
Go on retreat to find your inner child
Can you understand how I might be beguiled
By things so mundane?
So go climb your Everest, I’m happy for you
You have discovered what you need to do
I’ve got my own way to banish my blues
And yes, it’s ok.

'Cause right on my doorstep is my happy place
Puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face
Can you see in these eyes even the slightest trace
Of concern for your opinion?

Paying it forwardI have never in my life felt in the least bit attracted to visiting Queensland’s Gold Coast. To me, it’s simply a horrible thought. It’s where misogynist footballers go on holidays, where fake tanned bimbos wear gold strappy sandals as evening wear, where unimaginative families take their kids for constructed ‘experiences’ in overpriced theme parks. Yuk.It’s odd then, that I’ve had some seriously lovely and poignant creative moments there in recent times. Back in June, it was the Queensland Choral Conference to which I was invited by the late Harley Mead to present some collaborative composition workshops. At the time, I’d been having a bit of a creative drought, which I think was the result of having to push quite hard for opportunities to get my creativity out there as well as having to work on a couple of commissions for rather demanding, interfering types. These things had blocked me to the point that I wasn’t even doing the creative stuff that I love to do just for myself. That was a bad sign.So anyway, Harley invited me to the conference and I said yes, even though I feared that I just wouldn’t be able to find that spark of inspiration for myself, let alone for a bunch of choir nerds hungry for creativity. It really worried me in the weeks leading up to the event. I was pretty scared, but when I arrived at the hotel and there was Harley with that smile and those open arms, I suddenly found my courage, felt a shift, knew that it was going to be a catalyst for something.Before my workshop, I had admired a green ukulele in one of the stalls at the conference. After the workshop, it magically appeared in my hotel room. I knew it had to be a gift from Harley, which he denied with a playful grin as was his way. I told him my song idea about this child talking to a little raindrop on the windowpane of his home in one of those hideous Gold Coast towers, asking the raindrop to talk to his saltwater friends in the ocean, to ask them not to drag all the sand off the beach so the buildings don’t fall over. Harley liked my idea and sat with me on my hotel room balcony, forcing me to finish it. His commitment to encouraging me meant so much, particularly because he was organising the conference and probably had a lot of other things he was meant to be doing. But he was with me on my balcony, laughing and singing and reigniting the creative flame in my heart. That song I wrote that day Hello Raindrop and the little green ukulele have now become a symbol to me of new beginnings and a reminder of a beautiful soul now lost to the world.Fast forward to last weekend and I’m on the Gold Coast again for another creative opportunity, this time at the invitation of my friend Rob Mills. Yep, that Rob ‘Millsy’ Mills, Australian Idol, f*cked Paris Hilton, star of Wicked and Grease and occasional poster of dodgy imagery on social media. He’s writing a cabaret, the obligatory autobiographical show, so that he gets to say it the way he wants to say it, rather than the way the tabloids and gossip mags say it, or the way that the smartphone wielding public say it. I’m really excited to be a part of it actually. Rob’s a quality human in a whole lotta ways.On our first full day of working, we went through a bunch of songs that he’d chosen to illustrate moments in his life. It’s a fabulous collection of repertoire, lots of range in terms of musical styles and moods, giving him lots of opportunity to show everything he can do, the extroverted entertaining public Millsy and the thoughtful, pensive, inner Rob. The feeling that I was getting, however, was that there needed to be something else. Rob thinks of himself primarily as a performer, an entertainer, not as a creative. When he showed me the closing song he wanted to do, Say what you need to say by John Mayer I finally had to start really pushing back. “It’s got to be in your own words, mate”, I said, “That song isn’t what you need to say, it’s what John Mayer needs to say”. Some old fashioned avoidance followed on his part. Maybe it was all too confronting? I decided to stop pushing too hard.We went for a walk and sat by the beach and talked. Maybe it was the effect of being near the water, but all this great material was pouring out of him without his even thinking about it. It was like the real Rob Mills finally stood up. There was an amount of conversation about our immediate physical surrounds too, how the ocean is simultaneously dangerous and inviting, treacherous and calming, how the water still looks like it’s coming in, even when the tide is actually going out. So there he was, writing a song without knowing that he was doing it. I quietly took mental notes. Next morning on my own, I sat on the balcony of the apartment looking out on the ocean and I put the previous afternoon’s conversation on paper. Suddenly I had this very strong memory of Harley Mead sitting with me on another balcony not far from there, smiling encouragingly at me as I finished my ukulele song about the raindrop. I fetched the ukulele that Rob happened to have brought and I sang Hello Raindrop out to the sea and sky. My voice was wobbly and the tears were kinda welling up. When I finished, I turned around and Rob had been standing listening to me. I’m not sure how long he’d been standing there. I felt super embarrassed and did my usual trick of blurting out of small talk nothingness to hide the tears. I am totally sure he’s perceptive enough to know something was going on. Eek.He smiled goodbye and went down to the beach for a swim, and I stayed in and wrote the 1st verse and chorus of our new song, using the ocean swimming thing as a metaphor. I played it to him upon his return and got him to immediately write the second verse. With this framework to build upon, his words fit so beautifully, so naturally with the music, just like how good it feels to be immersed in salt water, and I just felt so feckin’ happy for him, that he was finally saying what he needed to say, straight from the heart and in the first person. Was that how Harley felt that day with me on that other balcony? Was I kind of Paying it Forward here? Harley gave it to me, I gave it to Rob, and when the show goes on, Rob will give it back to the world and this beautiful line of human connections will be made…


Girls don’t like boys girls like slam poetry and Doc Martens