The composition Our Town is an audio recording of music, speech, and ambient sounds forming an integrated whole and where all elements are treated musically. The extract above is from the opening movement, and the baby you hear is Gabriel, my son. The final movement begins with the first word he spoke: bubble.
The Our Town Transcript and Composer Notes provide more details about this work.
The Journey Home
I try to compose music that invites those who may not usually listen to contemporary music. The Journey Home begins without a centre with seemingly random notes but this abstraction soon dissipates and the music begins to settle on a tonal centre before its final resolution. This short piano piece is by way of a compressed summary of a life that begins chaotically, then reaches a point of equilibrium.
With Softest Touch
This three minute composition intones a series of beautiful vocalized legato sound-phrases and evolves into a lyrical melody full with tenderness and romance. Although the voices convey no explicit meaning, they carry an intense emotive power.
A Silent Movie
Composed and Performed by Mike de Sousa, Tenor Sax: Mick Perry.
A Silent Movie, a complex and personal work, was composed between 1986 and 1988, runs to forty minutes, and is read and heard concurrently.
My creative development by 1987 had led me to increasingly include written text as an integral part of my musical output. In 1988 I decided to embark on a work which would be ambitious in both content and style.
A Silent Movie contains a broad range of musical forms from acapello singing, jazz, classical, and spoken word, to the musical use of ambient sounds. A Silent Movie was to become the first 'audiotexs', and was technically very demanding as the advent of affordable digital audio had not yet arrived (all sound material was cut and pasted using traditional magnetic media technology).
A Silent Movie runs to forty minutes and is read and heard concurrently. Below is a short extract from the text of A Silent Movie, which appears towards the final stages of the work. A number of themes appear in this extract that are developed throughout the work: the life cycle, human cloning, and aesthetics.
"I like the style of your writing, it is unlike anything I have ever read..." Alan Bennett
"Good luck, I hope this work gets the wide exposure it deserves..." Malcolm Bradbury
Poetic Extract from A Silent Movie
A nail lies rusting by a sea red with sunset, In quick corrosion it grasps a last gasp of life, A brittle end to one so firmly struck.
Growing close to this infectious ruin Red mangrove swells the brackish borderland, An arc of tangled fingers clinging to the sodden sand.
Caught between arthritic joints A bed of leaf, grass and shells, And on this nest, remote decay, A pure glass marble lay.
Soft and fixed Peering through this fish eye lens of crystal, An infant's iris flexed to breaking point, Guzzles all sight of misproportioned image, Hauled into a black hole of sensation. A small newborn hand reaches down And from a woollen pocket pulls A single seedless grape.
Full Circle ~ extract. Composed by Mike de Sousa - Full Credits. Listen to the full length piece presented in the player at the top of this page.
I began work Our Town in December 1997. Over the following two years I interviewed hundreds of people for the project, and made thousands of ambient sound recordings. Our Town is a four movement work which runs to seventy minutes and was completed in the year 2000.
From infancy to old age, bankers and beekepers, mothers and fathers, rich, poor, happy, angry, sad. All are part of Our Town. Some tell of their passions, of those who have left and indelible mark on their lives, others of their journey as it nears its end. From morning to night, through sun, wind and rain, through every season of the year, you will hear sounds from familiar and unexplored places.