International Women’s Day on Resonance FM 2021

For International Women’s Day, Jude Cowan Montague made a special edition of ‘The News Agents,’ sharing music by some long term members of the Women Composers Collective.

With pieces by Arhynn Descy, Kristen Baum Composer, Rosemary Duxbury composer, Jude Cowan Montague and me.

It included performances by cellists Jeness, playing Arhynn’s piece, and Emma Butterworth, also of the WCC, who played the cello on the score to ‘Roots’, my featured music.

Roots will be released this month, and I’m very excited! The picture accompanying this post is from the film.

Listen here!…/the-news-agents-women…/

My episode on How I Make Music

Many thanks to John Bartmann for putting this podcast together and shining a light on the work of those those of us writing music for audio fiction.

The Hidden People returns!

Season 2 of The Hidden People will launch on May 14th. I’ve been working hard since Christmas on this second season of the show, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Both the sound and the music go even further than before.

If you haven’t done so yet, do check out my in-depth discussion of artistic choices and techniques in a key action sequence in season 1. I’ve been getting some unexpected – but very welcome! – feedback from several places that it was absorbing and fun to listen to.

It can be found here:

Inscape and Escape – link to Mixcloud edition

The special programme aired on Resonance FM for International Women’s Day 2020 can be heard here. I talk to Rosie Wyllie and Catherine Henderson about the philosophy and techniques in the drawing and the soundtrack and we listen to excerpts from the film. The post of images accompanying the programme can be found here:

Inscape and Escape – discussion on the making of Suspended


… if you are with me to follow our discussions on Resonance FM’s International Women’s Day programming!

I’ll be around today for answering questions in the comments section here.

The numbers in brackets are times when we talk about the image you see, for those of you listening on Mixcloud.

And here is a link to Suspended.

Do also catch it at the Draw Art Fair in May!

– Katie

William Kentridge (1:50)

Opening sequence … “its own, dream-like, reality …” (4:00)

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“Sparse, shrunk-down to pain and black and white …” (5:25)

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“… I always think of a sharp pain as a flash of white … vixen screams … tendril things …” (5:35 – 7:34)

[film’s narrator] … they started by hitting our feet with a stick, again and again…

“… ney flute … warm sheen … when the son is crossing the son is crossing the river …” (7:50 – 9:26)

… between our village and Lebanon there is only a river…
… so he crossed the river…
… and went to Lebanon…

“virtual synth patch from the beeping alert [of the dialysis machine] … continual merging and changing … never a point of conclusion …” (10:05 – 11:04)

… by this time…
… my kidneys were starting to make me feel unwell…
… my wife has mental health problems…
… she is on a lot of drugs now…

“… the click click click sound – I was trying to compare it to an old fashioned shutter slide, as a new chapter begins …” (10:40 – 11:14)

He didn’t want to join the army…
… so he shot himself in the leg…
… when my son returned to the army, the accused him of trying to avoid national service…

“… the piano was being a tolling bell quite a lot, going ‘dung dung dung’ in the low notes …” 🙂 (11:30 – 12:24)

…we were now in a war; unrest was everywhere…
… he lay there, dying, in the street…

“the main theme … derived from me trying to reflect … where Rosie’s drawing the dialysis machine with lots of wires and strings … that ‘stringy‘ tune, the twining, wind-y, rising and falling intervals of a 6th …” (12:25 – 14:05)

“… that’s not the sort of thing you normally get to do … to be able to generate the opportunities for the sound to tell the story … with the prison sequence, it’s so dark … but you can hear an awful lot of the prison …” (15:12 – 16:23)

… they tied our feet to the ceiling…

“… [the kestrel sound] introduces a real note of panic … the whole feeling of fear comes across very strongly in that scene …” (16:45 – 17:05)

… we were always afraid…
… we were in terror…

“… almost a kind of amnesia to the film, with these repeated sequences … the daughter at school, the son in prison … it feels like someone trying to grapple with different memories …” (18:50 – 19:55)

… we paid a bribe … (multiple repetitions of this image and phrase)
I wanted to make sure my daughter got an education. Now she speaks English. But she doesn’t teach me any!
… when I was a restaurant owner, I used to take a pot of coffee [around the village] … everyone knew me!
… being a stranger here is a rather bitter feeling…

“… a series of deliberately ambiguous sounds … the fact that he was living in both past and present at the same time … the sound of the pouring coffee became the rain in the gutter … the rain led to thunder, which turns out to be a bomb, so back in his memories in Syria again … one big plane of existence, nostalgia and present day suspended reality …” (19:55 – 20:25)

… would I go back to Syria? Under the current regime, absolutely not! But if the regime changed then, yes, I would return…

“… that British scene of people rushing past buried in their mobile phones … perhaps all our lives are suspended …!” (21:30)

“One of the most powerful bits is how long we sit on his face as he watches his son get hurt … I fade in a bit of the original speaker … it was such a sad room, there was so much heaviness … and I feel that comes across in that little snippet of audio …” (23:00 – 24:54)

… this was so very difficult … the hardest thing I have ever had to do…

“… the final sequence … in Rosie’s images and in the more emotional music than we’ve had, this is our – hopefully quite tactful – comment: we’re saying, “this is how we feel about it” …” (25:00 – 27:38)

Inscape and Escape on Resonance FM

I have some news!

The team who made Suspended, Rosie Wyllie, Catherine Henderson and me, have secured funding for a second film. We have decided to call our group Inscape, after Gerard Manley Hopkins. We think this reflects our specialism of exploring social themes through the subjective experience of the individual, using drawn stop-motion animation and immersive sound and music.

The film will be called Roots and will explore human migration from early history to the present day in a more holistic, poetical way.

Roots is due to release in the autumn. I will be blogging on my processes as I approach the soundtrack, but it is likely to use human voices – children to the elderly – in speech and song.

In the meanwhile, Resonance FM has programmed what looks like an exciting day of programmes this Sunday 8th March for International Women’s Day – and we are part of it!

We will be discussing the artistic and collaborative processes as we made Suspended – and Catherine’s cat, Dotty, made some valuable contributions to the discourse! Our programme is at 9-9.30am UTC, but will be available on Mixcloud afterwards if you’re not in the UK or if you like a lie-in on a Sunday!

Use these links to access this broadcast: