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DAVID FERGUSON: Writing Music For TV

Interview | Composer By Debbie Poyser & Derek Johnson
Published October 1998

DAVID FERGUSON: Writing Music For TV

David Ferguson has worked his way up from sampling hoovers on tape to an enviable position as a highly sought‑after TV composer. Debbie Poyser & Derek Johnson discover how he managed it, and find out his views on the way the music‑for‑TV industry is developing.

"I'm still a terrible keyboard player", says David Ferguson. If that's the case, there may be some hope for the rest of us terrible keyboard players, since the man speaking is a leading UK film and television composer and has just released a Chandos CD, The View From Now, of his soundtrack music. His work can be heard on such contemporary drama as Ruth Rendell's A Dark Adapted Eye (BBC 1994) and A Fatal Inversion (BBC 1992), and the second series of Granada's cult thriller Cracker, starring Robbie Coltrane. Recently nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for his work on the Carlton/BBC period psychological thriller The Woman In White, Ferguson seems drawn to drama, perhaps because, as he himself admits "I'm not very good at cheerful tunes."

In person, he's an affable man, but the serious side that manifests itself in his music is certainly evident, and amongst other topics we'll talk about is one of some importance — which could affect you, as a musician, personally. But first, let's fill in some blanks.

A Life Less Ordinary

David's recent CD, The View From Here.David's recent CD, The View From Here.

David Ferguson was born in 1953 in South London, where he still lives to this day. If you witnessed the blooming of early‑'80s synth pop first‑hand you might be acquainted with Random Hold, the band which brought him his first taste of musical success. Meeting by chance at an 801 (Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera) gig, the 24‑year old theatre student David Ferguson and old school friend David Rhodes decided that they could form a band at least as interesting. David Ferguson takes up the story:

"I'd never played an instrument, but in the theatre I'd learned a lot about tape recorders, and we were initially interested in the avant garde end of things. We had tape loops of insect sounds and vacuum cleaners. I had a bass guitar with one string covered with crocodile clips, processed by an echo machine. Because this was the era when synths were first appearing, we gravitated towards them."

Attracting record label interest and touring with XTC and OMD, the band were also spotted by, and taken under the wing of, Peter Gabriel, on whose worldwide hit 'Biko' David's keyboard talents appear. But three albums later, suffering from a lack of public exposure, Random Hold split, leaving David to return to his old life in drama or forge a new career: "I had a qualification to teach drama, and I applied for endless jobs, but didn't get them. Then the director of the last Random Hold music video was offered a Channel Four TV series called Low‑Tech and asked me to do the music. The series was all to do with junk, so we did a fake junk band, with an Emulator 2."

David's real breakthrough came when he narrowly missed a job at the BBC's now‑defunct Radiophonic Workshop: "I was heartbroken. But then the Radiophonic Workshop rang up and said they'd like to add me to the list of their freelancers. Initially, nothing much came of it; then one day I got a call from a producer at Granada Television to do the music for a documentary called The Sword of Islam, which went on to win the Emmy for best documentary and a BAFTA. Literally the day after it went out, the phone started ringing. It completely changed my life."

The Sword of Islam opened doors for David, and as the '80s turned into the '90s he found himself increasingly in demand. His CV is packed with high‑quality drama and documentary credits, and he recently made the move into the American market with the 1997 action movie Hostile Waters, starring Rutger Hauer and Martin Sheen.

Building A Studio

David's compact but powerful London‑based writing room, including the following selection of gear: (on rack, left) Lexicon MPX1000 effects, Drawmer DS201 gate, Yamaha SPX50 effects, Alesis Microverb effects, Emu Proformance Piano module, SPL Vitalizer enhancer, Tascam DA20 MkII DAT machine; (in centre of room) Spirit Absolute 2 monitors, Mackie 32:8:2 mixer, Bit 99 synth; (in far right corner) Roland S760 sampler, Alesis ADAT XT, Roland D550 synth, Oberheim DPX1 sample player; (mid right of room) Alesis BRC, Apple G3 Mac computer; (in rack on extreme right) Roland S760 sampler, Korg Wavestation SR synth, Akai S3000XL sampler, Roland SP700 sample player, and Emu Proteus 1, 2, & 3 synth modules.David's compact but powerful London‑based writing room, including the following selection of gear: (on rack, left) Lexicon MPX1000 effects, Drawmer DS201 gate, Yamaha SPX50 effects, Alesis Microverb effects, Emu Proformance Piano module, SPL Vitalizer enhancer, Tascam DA20 MkII DAT machine; (in centre of room) Spirit Absolute 2 monitors, Mackie 32:8:2 mixer, Bit 99 synth; (in far right corner) Roland S760 sampler, Alesis ADAT XT, Roland D550 synth, Oberheim DPX1 sample player; (mid right of room) Alesis BRC, Apple G3 Mac computer; (in rack on extreme right) Roland S760 sampler, Korg Wavestation SR synth, Akai S3000XL sampler, Roland SP700 sample player, and Emu Proteus 1, 2, & 3 synth modules.

In the wake of Random Hold's break‑up, David's gear consisted of "bits and pieces. I think I had a PPG Wave 2.2 and a Linndrum, and a 4‑track Portastudio. I used to use a studio in Brixton, called Wolf, for my TV stuff. What made me get my own gear was doing a BBC children's drama series called Moondial. These were the days when if you had a studio bill the BBC just paid it. I was in Wolf for almost a month and I realised they'd spent around £10,000 on studio time. So when the director of Moondial asked me to do his next project, A Country Boy, I borrowed £10,000 and bought a home studio, then paid it off with the studio costs on A Country Boy."

These days David has what he calls a "writing room" in his London home. But for recordings that call for real players and instruments he decamps to Terra Incognita studios, in Bath, where we're conducting our interview. It's the second home of producer David Lord (interviewed in SOS November 1996), Ferguson's long‑time friend and musical collaborator. Surrounded by gear of all kinds, it seems appropriate to talk about Ferguson's own equipment preferences and opinions — and he's got plenty.

"My favourite piece of gear of all time is the Alesis Microverb." This could be seen as a strange admission for a man at the top of his profession, who can afford a corresponding level of equipment. But David is adamant: "It's just the best reverb in the world. Well, it's not actually the best reverb in the world, but I like it. In fact, it wasn't until I heard TC's M5000 that I was tempted by any other reverb. I'd been so impressed by the M5000's reverbs that the second the Wizard appeared I bought one. It does everything, and somehow it's got character. That's what it is with the Microverb. It's clearly technically not a very good reverb, but it has character."

With his background as keyboardist with Random Hold, you might expect David to have a soft spot for synths, and he does — but they're mostly antique: "All through Random Hold I had a Minikorg, Microkorg and an 800DV. I loved the noises they made. Currently the only two synthesizers I use are the Wavestation SR and a Yamaha AN1x, which is all right, though very limited.

"Sample libraries, to me, have become much more important than gear. I buy virtually everything Time & Space put out, apart from the dance‑orientated CDs. I've got the Peter Siedlaczek ones, the Miroslav Vitous stuff, Heart of Asia, Heart of Africa, Ultimate Piano, Mediterranean Instruments... When we were doing the music for Bravo Two Zero, there were some scenes where they wanted Iraqi radio playing, and it was so useful to be able to get a drum loop off Mediterranean Instruments and put a little bouzouki thing over the top. We were able to come up with a pretty convincing forgery really quickly."

The soundtrack is like another character in a drama.

Since samples are the core tools of David's trade, he spends a lot of time with his samplers: "The samplers I use most are the Roland S760s. I've got two, and an SP700, which is the playback machine." Clearly he prefers the Roland 'way'. "I find that the Rolands sound so musical — I think they've got the best tone. Roland obviously spent a lot of time developing their sample library, which is very good. For instance, with the Orchestral Percussion CD‑ROM, the effects you can get are great, like having the timpani crescendo via the modulation wheel. I rarely use the Rolands to actually sample; in fact, Akais are quicker for that, but I find the Roland file management system better."

Having said this, David admits that he'll probably get one of the forthcoming S5000 or S6000 Akai samplers, the fact that they can take up to 128Mb of RAM being a key attraction. "I need another one to accommodate the fact that an entire 32Mb machine is taken up with one piano. The new Akais are supposed to hold up to 128Mb, which is fairly hefty, but I'm sure in a few years we'll need more."

David's a Mac user, running Emagic's Logic Platinum sequencer on a G3 266 computer. He graduated to Mac Logic in the same way as many musicians — via Notator on the Atari — and still has a lingering fondness for a program that progress tells us is outdated. "I adored Notator. Now I'm reasonably quick with Logic, but I don't think its front window is as good. They felt they had to follow the Cubase line, and I think that was a mistake.

"There are also some irritating things in Logic. For instance, say you're inside the Event editor — which I use a lot, because it's close to the way Notator worked — and you have a hi‑hat part that you want to repeat. You do multiple copies inside the Event editor, but back in the Arrange page the size of the hi‑hat Object doesn't change, so the hi‑hat runs out unless you remember to go to another area and modify the Object; niggly little things like that. I'm now on Logic v2.6.6 and it doesn't run as fast as v2.5 — partly because it's got audio in it. I don't use the audio, but you can't separate it in Logic any more, which seems daft to me.

"Until recently I haven't had a use for the audio side, but on my album David [Lord] did a lot of editing and crossfading, and I'd now like those facilities, although I don't desperately want to get into multitrack recording inside the computer yet. I see too many people crashing. Most of my composing is done under extreme time pressure, and I can't afford to have gear that goes down and leaves me stranded. It makes you terrified to get on an aeroplane when you know it's computers in charge!"

Having made his point, David mellows: "But the thing with any of these tools is that we don't think about how wonderful they are, that they've given us opportunities we never would have had without them. So we end up griping about little things. But I do know people in dance music who are so fed up with Macs that they've gone back to Ataris — because they find the clock on the Atari so much more reliable — but slaving the Atari to their Mac or PC, which they use as a hard disk editor with something like Soundscape."

Creating Mood

DAVID FERGUSON: Writing Music For TV

If you turn down the sound while watching a horror movie, it's easy to see what a huge contribution music makes to atmosphere — much of the tension just evaporates when the spooky music isn't there any more. What's not so easy to see is how the composer makes this happen, and even David Ferguson looks perplexed when he's asked to explain exactly how he goes about creating mood. He falls back on explaining how the decisions are made about what feel a given soundtrack will have:

"One project I did had the best briefing I can remember. It was a play called Killing Time, about the serial killer Denis Nilsen. I had a meeting with the director, and we sat through the film. Then we started to talk about what was happening in the film, and decided that it was really about loneliness, and that in many ways slow jazz music is the music of loneliness. So the soundtrack had to be a jazz soundtrack. At one point the Nilsen character plays an overture from a Respighi opera, so we decided to use the theme from the Respighi opera as the melody inside the jazz piece. That became the central point of the film score. I think one of the things that has served me very well doing soundtrack music is that I worked in theatre before I ever got into music, so I'm very interested in the drama.

"The soundtrack is like another character in a drama. Aaron Copeland said that it has five roles. It can set time and place; warn you of something about to occur; underline things that otherwise might be missed; tie things together; or it can be there purely as underscore. It will change its role according to how it's being cast in the film."

Often a composer will aim for a specific feel to a soundtrack — as in the slow jazz example above — and sometimes will even be asked to virtually copy another piece of music. David: "I actually get quite fed up now, when people ask me to do that. I did a documentary series called Crash, where they wanted me to create some imitation bits of pop music, including a bit from the 1960s. It's not easy to do, and you're doing it on a keyboard player's budget. You can't sound like The Searchers just like that out of an Akai S3000!"

Sometimes, though, recreating a period feel can be fun. Ferguson cites an episode of Cracker in which he was asked to produce something in the style of the Ray Charles Orchestra for inclusion in the German broadcast of the show, where the original piece of music couldn't be used.

"With the Cracker thing there was more latitude to be free with it. You weren't actually meant to seriously sound like the Ray Charles Orchestra."

But David was meant to get as close as possible — with "one trumpeter, one sax player and a bank of synths". So how did he do it?

"Well, it took a very long time. It's on the album, actually."

David leans over to a CD player and the track in question starts to play. It opens with a menacing mood built up by a repetitive two‑note piano figure, something which recurs in his work ("I love these repetitive, very simple underpinnings, whatever else ends up going on top. That's what creates the tension..."), backed with disturbing, low‑level chords on a deep string pad. The atmosphere builds as David explains that the camera is pushing through dense undergrowth to finally reveal two people on the ground... having sex!

David: "Here's the crossover... now we have a tracking shot through Fitz's house, and it's down to the record player with the Atlantic label going round." The track dissolves perfectly into the jazz piece proper, a lazy, low sax and trumpet unison riff backed by lush strings, then builds to a melancholic muted trumpet solo over softly‑brushed jazz drumkit and delicate piano chords.

"We're just attempting to get that early '60s feel... everything apart from the trumpet and the sax is synthetic. Stuart Gordon, David [Lord] and I worked on the string arrangement to get that 1950s string sound. I believe the strings are 'Orchestra Unison' from the Roland sample library, then there's a couple of individual string samples at the front of it, so that it doesn't sound like too big an ensemble. We listened to the original several times, then David worked quite hard on the EQing to get as close to it as possible. On another version, we overlaid crackle and record pops. It sounded very authentic."

I do approach it all very naïvely. But I'd hope the music has got soul of some sort.

Brave New World

DAVID FERGUSON: Writing Music For TV

When David launched his soundtrack career, Britain had just three established national channels and Channel Four was independent TV's new baby. Now Channel Five is attempting to make its mark, Sky offers 30+ satellite channels, and cable TV is increasingly widespread. Not to mention the imminent arrival of digital TV, which promises (or threatens) to introduce hundreds of new stations. Good news for soundtrack composers, surely — more programmes means more music, right? Well, it's not quite that simple. David Ferguson finds reason to be anxious about the future, and not just for the sake of his own career. He thinks it's time to speak out.

"I think we should be seriously concerned about the future of television. All the negative things that were said about multi‑channel TV have been proved true. I doubt if TV is going to be a medium which is capable of producing quality work in 20 years time. It will just be a recycling situation with odd bits of live stuff thrown in. Good drama, like we're dealing with now [David was working on the forthcoming BBC film Touch and Go, about wife‑swapping, starring Martin Clunes] is done on a wing and a prayer. Five years ago the director would have had twice the time for that shoot. There were just two weeks for the edit. Partly that's because technology allows you to edit more quickly, but even so..."

David also echoes what's become a commonplace observation in these days of the 'modernisation' of the BBC. "I'm not saying the BBC didn't need to change, but I doubt whether it needed the kind of reform that it's undergoing, from a bunch of accountants who know nothing about programme making, who see the whole thing in terms of project targets. I had a ludicrous experience recently. I had agreed to do the music for a space documentary, and there was next to nothing in the budget for the music. I think it was £1000, when you'd normally expect about £3000 for a 50‑minute documentary — and you'd hope for more if there were going to be real players. I'd agreed to do it because I'd seen the rough cut and there were fantastic pictures. Then I had a call from the producer to say that I wasn't going to get my tape to work to until a week later than the date we'd agreed. So I said yes, that's fine, presumably that means you've moved the dub to later? And she said 'Oh no'. That gave me exactly four days to do the music. All they would have got from me was repetition of stuff I've done in the past, and I would have been very stressed doing it in four days. I asked why they couldn't move the dub, and she said 'because we have to deliver by that date internally for the accounting period to be satisfied.' So all this was to do with an accountancy procedure." Under these circumstances, David decided not to do the job.

The Future Of Copyright

The 'streamlining' of budgets and apparent change of emphasis, away from the artistic and editorial requirements of programming and towards the imperatives of accountancy, are just the thin end of the wedge as far as David is concerned. Even more ominous is the growing threat to the status of music copyright and copyright royalties. He enlarges: "This situation is one of concern to all people who produce or market music. It is in the interest of certain types of large media corporation to see the end of copyright on music as a separate issue. You may be aware of a court case abroad where a TV station employed people to write their music who were 'bought out' by the station [paid a one‑off fee, with no entitlement to royalties]. The station then told the equivalent of the PRS in that country that they would not be paying any license fee for broadcasting because they were not using any copyright material. And now the APC [Association of Professional Composers] has become aware that a broadcaster has been sniffing around music students in this country who have not yet joined the PRS, trying to sign them up to write copyright‑free music."

The implications are obvious. If copyright is eroded in this way, musicians could be relegated to the status of music‑producing automata, churning out music like car parts on a conveyor belt, being paid once and once only for each piece, which would then belong to the broadcaster to exploit as they wished.

I think we should be seriously concerned about the future of television. All the negative things that were said about multi‑channel TV have been proved true.

Shifting money out of the pocket of the artist and into that of the powerful corporation can be accomplished in different ways, though, and a practice that's apparently widespread on the continent is now moving into the UK. David: "All the ITV companies and quite a large number of small production companies are now trying to maximise their income stream. Many of them insist on anyone who's writing music for them signing a publishing deal for that music with whichever company is returning the income stream to them — it might be a big music publisher who has a deal with that company, or the company might have set up a publishing company themselves, that would be administered by a larger publisher."

For those who didn't read about this kind of situation in George Webley's article in SOS December '97, the publisher of a piece of music is entitled to a slice of the royalties for that music. By setting themselves up as publishers, TV companies can gain extra pocket money from the royalties of writers they commission — and that could be up to 50 percent of the royalties due on a given piece. David is understandably disturbed by the possibility of composers being coerced by the fear of losing their livelihood into signing publishing deals.

"I'm not certain that there are blacklists of people who have refused to sign publishing at the moment, but I'm fairly sure that they will happen." He's got more than just a hunch to go on: "I'd started work on a project for a certain company; I'd written some of the score and produced some pieces of classical piano music for actors to mime to, and my agent had kept on saying 'no, we don't want to sign publishing with you'. Literally in the middle of one night the phone rang and it was the producer of the programme saying 'I've had instructions that unless you sign the publishing deal they're going to give me the names of seven composers who know how to make a sensible commercial decision.' So there you are, in a situation where it might be someone you do a lot of work for, already halfway into the project... We gave in, we signed their publishing deal. I'm still furious about it.

"What's absurd is that they're just re‑circulating money they have to pay to the PRS, and the only people who really gain are the administrators on the side. The publishing company can only take 50 percent of the royalties, and it doesn't add up to a great deal of money as far as the BBC or ITV are concerned. But to a composer on something like the project I'm talking about, the Performing Right would probably be something in the region of £4‑5000 on the UK showing, and £2500 is a major loss of income to a composer who doesn't make much money on the actual writing process. I sincerely hope that we make this practice illegal, but we may not succeed. In Spain it's commonplace, in France it's increasingly so, and French composers are outraged by it.

"There are lots of creative publishers who sign new talent and support it, and they are fully entitled to their cut. My agent works on my behalf because he's getting a proportion of my income. It's perfectly legitimate. It's not legitimate for somebody who employs me to take money away from me for employing me."

The View From Now

There's a long journey between tape loops of hoovers and film scores for huge orchestras. It's a journey which has only been made possible for an untrained "terrible keyboard player" by technology and a unique set of influences which include Bulgarian folk, African music, and modern classical composers such as Steve Reich and John Adams — plus a few guiding principles of his own. David: "I think one of the things film music has, that very self‑important classical music doesn't have, is a tune, and I do think that a lot of people like a tune. I was recently interviewed by Classic CD magazine, and the interviewer said that he thought my music, whilst borrowing sounds from modern writing, refused to fall into the disciplines of modern writing.I think he's right, but it's partly because of ignorance on my part. I wouldn't know how to write 12‑tone music if my life depended on it. I might do something that was 12‑tone instinctively but I wouldn't know, as it were, the discipline. I do approach it all very naively. But I'd hope the music has got soul of some sort."

Selected Equipment List

  • Apple G3 266 computer, 96Mb RAM/4Gb HD.
  • Akai S3000XL sampler.
  • Alesis ADAT XT digital recorder/BRC remote.
  • Alesis Microverb effects.
  • Bit 99 synth.
  • Drawmer DS201 Gate & LX20 compressor.
  • Emagic Logic Platinum 2.6 sequencer.
  • Emu Proteus 1, 2 & 3 sound modules. ("On the album, the 'Hall Strings' preset from Emu's first Proteus module is used a lot, because it's a great marcato string sound.")
  • Emu Proformance piano module.
  • Ensoniq VFX synth.
  • FriendChip Timecode Refresher.
  • Iomega Jaz drive.
  • Korg 1212 PCI card.
  • Korg DRV3000 effects. ("Weird and sometimes wonderful.")
  • Korg Wavestation SR synth.
  • Lexicon MPX1000 effects.
  • Logan String Melody keyboard. ("The last of Random Hold.")
  • Mackie 32:8:2 mixer.
  • Oberheim DPX1 sample player.
  • Roland D550 synth.
  • Roland S760 samplers/SP700 playback unit.
  • Sony 600Mb optical drive.
  • Sony DTC690 DAT recorder.
  • Spirit Absolute 2 monitors.
  • SPL Vitalizer enhancer.
  • Symetrix 511A noise reduction.
  • Tascam DA30 MkII DAT recorder.
  • TC M2000 Wizard effects.
  • Yamaha AN1x synth.
  • Yamaha SPX50 effects.

Technology: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

David is the first to admit that he has no musical training as such, yet he's writing for orchestras, and he's in no doubt that he has technology to thank: "The synths enable me to do it. You can do such good things with machines. On The Woman in White, the core motif was a repetitive harp figure. We knew that this was virtually impossible for a harpist to play, so we sampled her playing each of the notes — we used the real harp and the real musician — but then to get the musical effect we used the machinery, because she wouldn't have been able to play that rigorously for that long.

"I think David [Lord] and I do quite good work with synthesizers and samplers, but you increasingly hear work with no dynamic range. I'm a massive fan of what David can do. The people who should really be grateful to him are the producers of some of the programs we do, because [synthesized] scores can be done for a quarter of the money that a full orchestral score would cost, and it's the work he puts in that makes them sound so rich."

Nevertheless, David will always use an orchestra if the budget allows: "When we did Hostile Waters, we had enough budget for a really big string section. The tape went into roll on the first track and it was just instant. That's why you're paying £190 a session for an orchestral musician — for their lifetime of learning and dedication."

That £190 figure is after a recent increase in the MU rate, as David explains: "We had a meeting recently of the APC [Association of Professional Composers], saying that we were not opposed to musicians getting £190 for a session, but the effects of this would be firstly to drive more people towards using synthesizers, and secondly to encourage more composers and production companies to go to Prague or Munich. A German string player costs £70 for a three‑hour session as opposed to £190. In the case of Hostile Waters, the recent increase would have added over £6000 to the cost of the sessions. The MU know this, but composers in media are caught between a rock and a hard place, because now you're contracted to do a job within a budget, and there's no way the production company is going to give you more money because the MU rate has gone up. Musicians inside the MU and composers need to work and pressurise together more often, because we have a lot in common."

Cracking Ideas

David's reaction when asked for his favourite soundtrack project is unhesitating: "It's got to be Cracker. I did the middle series. The first story was the Robert Carlisle one ['To Be A Somebody'], about the factory worker, Albie, who shaves his head and decides to start murdering people until he's murdered enough to make up for the victims of Hillsborough. In some ways this is regarded as the classic Cracker.

"The music was divided into three sections. There was the relatively straightforward thriller music, then there was the blues/jazz‑based Fitz music, which was to reflect Robbie's view, then there was the 'Albie' music. And the point is that while Albie is out there murdering people, you nonetheless feel sympathetic to him. The music was supposed to express his loss and the unfairness and wrongness about why he was in this position."

In classical style, Ferguson used each theme — leitmotif — to underline the internal state of the characters, also keeping the musical feel chosen for each character specific to that character. So, for instance, as the Fitz motif was blues/jazz, blues and jazz were not used in the rest of the soundtrack for that programme. And at one point in this episode Ferguson's music was notable for its absence. Ferguson: "In that story, Bilborough gets killed, and he'd been regarded as the second character to Fitz. We'd originally scored the whole of the Bilborough death sequence. It starts with a long chase, then we see him creeping around inside a house, then the stabbing occurs, we see him trying to crawl out to get help, and he eventually dies. The cue is about 10 minutes long. We decided that, just as he comes into the house, before he's stabbed, we would do the rest of the sequence in silence, which is normally unheard of. And they took out all the atmos as well, so that when the murder occurs there's just total silence. I think the effect was much stronger than any music or sound effects could have been."

Sometimes a dramatic change in feel can be achieved by a simple but effective idea, such as was used on a Cracker episode about a rapist.

"All the post‑rape music was done as blues, but instead of being done with conventional instrumentation, we did it with a string quartet. So that in no sense were we colouring the thing attractively. In fact, it became more oppressive."

David's new 18‑track Chandos New Direction CD, The View from Now (Chan 9679), featuring music from Cracker, The Woman in White, Bravo Two Zero, Hostile Waters, and many more, is out now. His web site can be found at