snapshot of score of in heaven...

in heaven...

for brass band and tape — 1985

This piece was very much an experiment for me. It is intended as a tribute to the film director David Lynch, in the form of a reinterpretation of the soundtrack from his remarkable 1977 surrealist film Eraserhead. For this I wanted to make some random textures and chords in place of the original’s variously coloured noise. I had recently started teaching myself to program in BASIC on the computers at the school where I worked, so I wrote a fairly simple program to generate my random sounds in a text form which I could translate into score. (What I was doing was a very crude, naïve version of what Xenakis had been doing for about thirty years!)

An important element of the film’s soundtrack (by Lynch and Alan Splet) was the use of pipe organ recordings by Fats Waller, some of which I transcribed and wove into my textures at the appropriate points. One of them, indeed, Stompin’ the Bug, is completely exposed, so required no such weaving. Probably the best known part of the soundtrack is the song In Heaven, written by Peter Ivers and sung by the ‘Lady in the radiator’. I had already decided to use an optional tape to supplement the band’s textures with some electronic sounds, using my very basic equipment, so I added my own rendition of the song to this. I sang it at as low a pitch as I could in a deliberately shaky falsetto, then slightly raised the pitch of the tape to the correct key. I also specified that if no tape playing equipment was available a singer could be used for the song; and without either the flugelhorn could play the melody.

Score extract (PDF)


Performances / broadcasts / recordings

Listen to MIDI version (10:08)