On 'The Chine'

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.,
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments,
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches,
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,,
I cried to dream again.”,

― William Shakespeare, The Tempest

A ‘chine’ is a canyon leading out to the sea, caused by the erosion of a river path through a band of sandstone. "The Chine" takes its muse from "Shanklin Chine" - a popular tourist attraction on the Isle of Wight, although the program of the music itself bears limited resemblance to that point of interest (which I have not visited in over 20 years), instead taking a 'chine' as a setting for various elements of wonder, magic & fantasy.

Part One opens with a melody for low tin whistles and mandolin as we descend the steps into the canyon. A succession of episodes follow, conjuring imagery of different places and beings that inhabit this strange and mystical world of caves, follies, waterfalls and exotic plants. A reprise of the opening theme builds towards a more energetic 9/8 passage for electric guitars and percussion, before dissolving into peaceful transition for low whistle & classical guitar. From the shadows emerges a procession of ghostly figures; as though on some form of pilgrimage we follow their march as they make their way towards the peals of a giant temple bell situated at the edge of the shore... As the opening theme re-emerges atop a tower of wailing guitar and percussion the sun sets below the horizon whilst the sound of 1000 handbells beckons us onwards towards evening...

Part Two returns to the same forest trail. It is night. But now the path is illuminated with vivid lights, bathing the once-familiar landscape in a of blanket of magically changing hues and perspectives. From a shimmering lake of synthesizers, different musical ideas emerge and recede in a slow dream-like dance until the first rays of the morning sun break through the canyon walls, signaled by a transformed version of the theme of Part One for full ensemble and percussion.

Together, "Wolcum Yole", "The Last Train Through Desolation Pass" and "The Chine" form a trilogy of sorts - a diversion into pure musical escapism that stands shamelessly aside from much of the other music I am known for. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed making them!

Posted: Dec. 29, 2022, 5:27 a.m.