Danny Mulhern has what sounds like, judging by this first taste, a rather beautiful debut album, an album featuring Oliver Coates and The London Contemporary Orchestra. The album, Reflections on a Dead Sea, is out on November 10th on CD, vinyl and the usual digital formats, via 1631 Recordings.
Stream, that first taste, Libya, taken from Reflections on a Dead Sea, here…
And here’s the press release (today is a cut’n paste kind of day)
1631 Recordings release Reflections on a Dead Sea – the debut album by British composer Danny Mulhern – on 10th November. It was recorded in collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra (who’ve also worked with Radiohead, Actress, Jonny Greenwood and Terry Riley), and whose cellist Oliver Coates co-wrote the track Ganfuda, also playing throughout the record.
Strings, studio manipulation, samples and loops create vast sonic spaces. Although the term ‘cinematic’ is bandied around often, these pieces really do transport you deep into breathtaking, far-away and remote locations that are rife with atmosphere. So successful is Danny as aural DOP that you can virtually see the panoramas and feel the air, with the record conveying a strong, palpable sense of atmosphere. As the album progresses, the listener is transported on an adventure through metal landscapes of creeping menace, awe and wonder, partially obscured by misty haze and stunning beauty.
Reflections on a Dead Sea is an augmented, evolved and extended version of a score composed by Mulhern for short film The Dead Sea, directed by Stuart Gatt. Danny explains, “The film is set in Lybia and tells the story of refugees detained while trying the flee to Italy. It was backed by the humanitarian NGO Medicins Sans Frontieres. We discovered the sound that fitted the film best was extremely soft articulations, played so they were barely audible. It opened up a fascinating sound world that I felt could go beyond the film. The film didn’t actually require much music, but I had a longer studio session booked, so once we’d recorded my pre-composed cues, we used the rest of the morning developing this sound we’d found and improvising around the cues I wrote. For the album sessions I had some pre-recorded piano improvisations, with instructions for each player to play over them within certain parameters (such as articulations, choosing notes from certain chords and never staying longer than a bar on any given note.) We could then home in on interesting sounds that were suggested with each take – a sort of controlled randomness. This way of working was an epiphany; it was really exciting to essentially hear new music coming out of the control room speakers for the first time. Every track has pre-composed elements and improv elements – it felt very alive and full of tensions and possibilities.”
Danny Mulhern is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer from London. He writes music for film combining contemporary classical with ambient and electronica, often featuring small ensembles, placing him the same sound world as Frahm, Arnalds, Jóhannsson and O’Halloran. Mulhern’s cinematic approach to composition led him to write scores for film and TV. Credits include the BBC crime drama Silent Witness, major arts and science documentaries for the BBC including The Natural World, How Art Made The World and Alternative Medicine, plus entertainment shows with Derren Brown, Matt Lucas and Simon Pegg. Danny’s piece Depth Perception was released for Piano Day 2017 by Moderna records on their compilation Algorithmics, and Reflections on a Dead Sea follows the Metanoia EP on 1631 Recordings – his recording debut under his own name.