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ClassicsOnline Home » DOWNES, David: Rusted Wheel of Things (The)
By Michael Alexander
"Downes' The Rusted Wheel of Things is compelling listening in both its depth and breadth of momentum and texture. Mixing renaissance simplicity and gothic starkness with driving rushes of rhythm and eerie signatures, it's a striking fusion of cross cultural influences."
As the central theme for his album, David Downes has set to music 'The Rusted Wheel of Things', a beautiful and moving poem by A. E. Houseman about birth, death and regeneration.
David Downes' initial musical education was quite traditional, he learned the piano for a number of years, and then continued his musical studies at Victoria University, where he earned a B.A. with honours in musical composition. Quite separate from his music however, was a curiousity about science, and about how things work. These two motivations inevitably collided as a result of his introduction to the sound studio.
At twenty six years old, David already has over ten years of studio and production experience. His first musical attempts in a studio were caught up in the last vestiges of the analogue wave of musical technology, a technology that he still utilises within the new digital environment. His 'home studio', or perhaps more appropriately 'studio home', contains a collection of unusual instruments and sound making devices, many of which were built by David himself. His creativity stems partly from a wish to transform the mundane into something mysterious and magical. This is especially true of his album The Rusted Wheel of Things.
David's music has always been motivated in part by visual inspiration. While he was still at school, he began working in the medium of video and won a national video competition. This encouraged him to further develop the integration of his musical and visual skills. He has made a considerable contribution to modern choreographic works with his compelling dance scores and has also composed music for theatre. David's music reflects a strongly visual quality, and he likes to produce an integration of musical and visual media whenever possible.
David says, "My album The Rusted Wheel of Things has been described as 'haunting', 'passionate' and 'compelling', but if the music were to be analysed, you would find that none of the individual elements that support the whole have any of those qualities. There is certainly nothing haunting or passionate about a vacuum cleaner connected to a piece of corrugated tubing!"
Yet this is one of the instruments that David has used. The results after its transformation are spectacular, larger than life. It is this ability to transform sound into something greater than the sum of its parts that interests and pushes David further into musical exploration. He is one of a new generation of young composers who do not fear to push the bounds of musical expression. His wonderful combination of creativity and innovation produces music that is amazingly compelling and evocative.
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DOWNES, David: Rusted Wheel of Things (The)