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Welcome to the Blog. Check back regularly to keep up with recent news updates.

American High School US premier,
on National Geographic

I’m delighted that American High School will receive its premier in the USA on National Geographic, on Tuesday 9PM ET.

The series will play over four weeks, as four 1-hour length episodes.

 

 

Stream the soundtrack in full here

 

Filmed, Produced and Directed: Marcus Plowright
Exec Producers: Neil Crombie and Joe Evans
Composer: Alexander Parsons

999: On the Frontline begins on More 4 this week

Proud to have composed a score for 999: On The Frontline, which begins on More 4 this Wednesday 13th September. The ten-part series follows multiple crews from the West Midlands Ambulance Service and shows the range of cases paramedics attend to, in real time. A truly extraordinary series lead by Claire Simpson and Charlie Bunce, for Curve Media.

Series Producer: Claire Simpson
Production Company: Curve Media
Composer: Alexander Parsons

TX Date: Every week, starting Wednesday 13th September at 9pm, More 4

Also featured on Gogglebox on Friday 15th September.

Somerset House Residency: Summer 2017

On Sunday 23rd July, I had the privilege of spending a day in residency at Somerset House, exploring the relationship between music and scent alongside Edition Perfume founder Timothy Han and fellow composer Roman Rappak. On the day, we composed and performed musical reactions based on scents mixed by Timothy, in the Givodan-sponsored Perfume Lab, in front of a live audience. Read a full breakdown of the performance here.

 

 

The combination of music and scent forms part of our collective work with Miro Shot – a project which aims to fuse live VR together with live music and sensory feedback to create an immersive reality concert which is experienced as part interactive music video and part live concert.

The Perfume Exhibition runs at Somerset House until the 31st August 2017.

Miro Shot on BBC News

Following our three day residency at the Institute of Modern Art in Amsterdam, the BBC have published an article, featuring a dissection of the experience and discussing how ‘virtual reality may change your life’. Many thanks to Vincent Dowd for coming to the show and writing the piece.

 

A second collaboration with Junction 2 Festival, London

It was a pleasure to be invited back to Junction 2 Festival this year. London’s most exciting techno festival situated in the shadow of the M4 returned for it’s second year, curated by good friends LWE, in collaboration with Drumcode, The Hydra and Into the Woods.

I spent the day recording sounds in and around the festival, which I’ll be building into a soundtrack to the after show video later this year. Watch last year’s below, in the meantime.

 

Shot, edited and directed by Josh Cohen, Jokoh Visual

Photo Credit: ShotAway

 

 

 

Grayson Perry: Divided Britain – Channel 4 Broadcast Date

Grayson Perry: Divided Britain will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Tuesday 30th May, 9pm. It was great to have been commissioned by Swan Films to compose another score for Grayson. More about the film here.

 

“Perry’s television programmes are great because they dare to reach conclusions that rise to artistic statements. Five Stars”

The Times

Performing with Miro Shot at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly

Following our sold out residency at CBK, Amsterdam, it was an honour to have been invited to bring our live Miro Shot CONTENT show to BAFTA HQ in London. We performed to three separate audiences in the Princess Anne Theatre on the 22nd May 2017.

Join the Miro Shot Collective

 

What an amazing ! live music and VR combined…Thanks to for the demo this morning.

Miro Shot first public shows
Three day residency at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam

From the 11-14th May, we will be playing our first Miro Shot public shows at CBK, Amsterdam. The three day residency will be the debut of our collective’s new show, CONTENT – a unique multi-sensory live VR and Mixed Reality concert.

 

The collective is a collaboration of artists from multiple fields, including musicians, filmmakers, photographers, illustrators and a scent artist.

 

NRG Magazine have released this article:

 

During the concert, a live band will play a unique piece of music to their audience through VR headsets. MIRO SHOT promises to embrace the participants in a multi-sensory experience, controlling parameters such as the wind, temperature, and even touch, offering people to switch between the real and the alternated virtual worlds. This way, for instance, when seeing a frozen forest, the viewer will feel the real cold and will be able to smell the real scent of the trees. Ute Kohlman, artistic director of CBK: “What’s really unique is that the audience will become a member of the collective. Visitors are allowed to participate and affect the artwork and music.

CBK Amsterdam works with artists, curators, and musicians from around the world to present unique exhibitions and events. After playing in Amsterdam on May 12-14, MIRO SHOT will take their performance to London, Paris, and Berlin, among other cities.

 

Entrance to CONTENT by MIRO SHOT is free with a reservation: http://www.miroshot.com

 

American High School Soundtrack to be Released Feb 2017

I’m delighted that my score for American High School will be available on general release, to coincide with its broadcast on BBC 1, in the UK. The soundtrack features original music from the series and will be available digitally from February 17th,  in all the usual places.

The series was produced and directed by Marcus Plowright with Swan Films.
Exec Producers: Neil Crombie and Joe Evans
Production company: Swan Films
Original Television Soundtrack mastered by Alain Paul at Million Mangoes, Berlin

I Can’t Go to School Today Wins a BAFTA Children’s Award

I Can’t Go To School Today (BBC Learning, 2016) has won a BAFTA Children’s Awards in the category Learning – Primary. The ceremony was held at the Roundhouse, London, on Sunday 20 November.

I Can’t Go To School Today is a series of animated documentaries for BBC exploring the experiences of children living with different illnesses and conditions. Using the testimonies of six young people, Mosaic Films worked with animators to tell their story visually.

Each of these films tells of the experiences of a young person whose life is markedly different from their peers, and who have all taken time off school because of their illness.

The series is available on BBC Bitesize.

Directed and Produced by: Andy Glynne
Animation Directors: Nandita Jain & Salvador Maldonado
Music and Sound Design: Alexander Parsons

‘Music For Heroes’
Alexander Talks American High School in Broadcast Now

In this article for Broadcast Magazine, I write about ‘Music for Heroes’ and stories behind my latest score for the BBC3 documentary Series American High School.

Myself and Marcus Plowright (Producer/Director) were asked to write this double page spread featured in the 11th November, 2016 issue in print, also available online for subscribers.

Download a PDF here

 

It was as hugely collaborative process

 

American High School follows a charismatic principal and his students over the course of one school year and through their eyes we witness life-changing moments. In the US, life chances for students who graduate high school are often starkly different to those who don’t, a disparity even more marked for African-American pupils.

With the odds often stacked against them we follow the class of 2016 over this, their make-or-break year.

We experience their highs and their lows as they prepare for life after high school. We meet Ivy League hopefuls, male cheerleaders and young mothers on a tough journey into adulthood. This is school as you’ve never seen it before and a unique insight into how it really feels to be young and black in America today.

In the first episode, new principal Dr Peters arrives on a mission to improve grades and discipline, but a mass brawl and the threat of further violence gives him a swift reality check.

Meanwhile, high-achieving pupil Jalena begins college applications, but with college fees costing more than a house, will she even be able to afford to go? Male cheerleader Vernon, and star football player Kordel, each prepare for the big Friday night football game. Can a win for the school help to get Dr Peters’ ambitions back on track?

 

Producer/Director: Marcus Plowright
Executive Producers: Joe Evans and Neil Crombie
Production Company: Swan Films
Composer: Alexander Parsons

American High School – Guardian Review

Thank you to Julia Raeside for the fantastic reveiw of American High School: Straight Outta Orangeburg. Read the review in full here

 

Alexander Parsons’ impressive score, mixing tinges of the music the kids listen to with his own emotive arrangements. Six episodes of hope, just when it’s needed.

 

American High School follows a charismatic principal and his students over the course of one school year and through their eyes we witness life-changing moments. In the US, life chances for students who graduate high school are often starkly different to those who don’t, a disparity even more marked for African-American pupils.

With the odds often stacked against them we follow the class of 2016 over this, their make-or-break year.

We experience their highs and their lows as they prepare for life after high school. We meet Ivy League hopefuls, male cheerleaders and young mothers on a tough journey into adulthood. This is school as you’ve never seen it before and a unique insight into how it really feels to be young and black in America today.

In the first episode, new principal Dr Peters arrives on a mission to improve grades and discipline, but a mass brawl and the threat of further violence gives him a swift reality check.

Meanwhile, high-achieving pupil Jalena begins college applications, but with college fees costing more than a house, will she even be able to afford to go? Male cheerleader Vernon, and star football player Kordel, each prepare for the big Friday night football game. Can a win for the school help to get Dr Peters’ ambitions back on track?

Producer/Director: Marcus Plowright
Executive Producers: Joe Evans and Neil Crombie
Production Company: Swan Films
Composer: Alexander Parsons

Pussy Riot: Refugees In
In collaboration with BretonLabs and Ten Ven

I was invited to collaborate with good friends BretonLABS and Ten Ven for the composition of this song for Feminist protest group Pussy Riot. In their latest video, they head to Dismaland, issuing a “F— the police” message to terrorism and refugee crises.

“Destroy piece by piece this conservative disease,” the women sing in “Refugees In” while running through Banksy’s amusement park. Pussy Riot hopes to urge Europe to keep its borders open to thousands of refugees who are in search of an escape from heavily ISIS-populated areas.

 

We are planning to release a lot of disturbing videos next year. We hope that you will not like them. Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova

 

Ralf Schmerberg directed the video, which also features police invading Dismaland and caging the Pussy Riot members. The group is working on new music in anticipation of affecting change in Europe and the U.S. “We are planning to release a lot of disturbing videos next year,” Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova said in a release. “We hope that you will not like them.”

 

Pussy Riot wants fans to say yes to inclusive thinking, multiculturalism, and freedom from abuse and inequality, and reject nationalism, xenophobia, and militarism.

 

Music: Pussy Riot, BretonLABS, Ten Ven, Alexander Parsons
Cinematography: Ralf Schmerberg

 

Junction 2 Festival – After Show Video

I was invited to Junction 2 Festival, to record and produce the sound design for their latest after show video. I then spoke with Ticket Tannoy about it. Here’s the result…

 


 

Muslim Drag Queens
Swan Films | Channel 4

Muslim Drag Queens, from director Marcus Plowright allows unprecedented insight into the clandestine gay Asian or ‘Gaysian’ community in the UK which provides a haven for young men who are unable to publically reconcile their sexuality with their cultural identity and traditions. Homosexuality is widely deemed to be forbidden within Islam and the exhibitionist nature of drag remains one of the ultimate taboos for many British Asians – forcing the entire scene underground. This sensitively-made film focusses on the stories of three of the 100-150 Muslim Drag Queens who face the seemingly insurmountable challenge of gaining acceptance and tolerance within their own wider communities.

 

“There is a whole community that is living in Britain which is hidden. Now is the time to come out. You’ve got to be big. You’ve got to be bold. And you’ve got to have balls of steel.” Asif Quaraishi /Asifa Lahore

 

Commissioning Editor David Brindley says: “This is an incredibly important, surprising and moving film. Those who have chosen to tell their stories have done so with immense bravery and speak so eloquently about the struggles they have faced. With piercing honesty, Muslim Drag Queens gets right to the heart of a community that has up until now remained hidden from the wider British public.”
Produced and Directed by Marcus Plowright
Executive Producers: Neil Cromboe and Joe Evans
Composer: Alexander Parsons
Production Company: Swan Films

Stream the whole soundtrack for Grayson Perry’s Dream House

I’m delighted to announce that the whole Grayson Perry’s Dream House soundtrack will be available to stream from the 20th-27th May, in advance of it’s general release.

“It’s like Grand Designs on acid.” The Times
“Fascinating television. Be amazed.” The Observer
“Grayson Perry’s Dream House was a very lovely thing…completely charming.” The Independent

Grayson Perry’s Dream House charts the creation of Grayson’s riskiest and most personal public artwork of his career: a loving tribute and celebration of his homeland of Essex inspired by his life and the people he grew up amongst. This is his tribute to Essex Women in all their glory and a powerful challenge to the reductive myth of the ‘Essex Girl.’

It is also Grayson’s biggest project to date, a creative collaboration with Charles Holland of FAT Architecture, that also involves a team of engineers, builders and crafts people. It’s taken three years to build and has involved hundreds of man-hours.

Broadcaster: Channel 4
Production Company: Swan Films
Produced and Directed by Neil Crombie
Filmed and Edited by Marcus Plowright
Music Composed by Alexander Parsons

Dinopaws has been nominated for a BAFTA

I was delighted to hear that Dinopaws has been nominated for a Children’s BAFTA, in the pre-school category. The 52-part animated show features three young, charismatic dinosaurs named Bob, Gwen and Tony, whose boundless sense of curiosity always leads them on exciting and magical adventures. Each episode follows the dinosaurs on their discoveries, whether it’s a new friend, an important feeling or just a funny noise.  An original concept created and developed by Alan Gilbey, Kindle Entertainment and Impossible Kids, together with Guru Studio, Dinopaws presents a world seen through the eyes of pre-schoolers: a place brimming with magic, wonder and endless possibilities.

Secret World of Lewis Carroll, Telegraph review: ‘Excellent’

The Secret World of Lewis Carroll, review: ‘excellent’. Martha Kearney’s wonderfully engaging portrait shows us the scandalous and imaginative side of Carroll.

The Secret World of Lewis Carroll (BBC Two) was an excellent programme. Terry Ramsey, Telegraph
Read the article in full here

Extreme Dog Styling
Channel 4, New Year’s Eve

Across America, poodles are being crimped, pimped and dyed to compete in a multi-million-dollar activity. Extreme creative dog grooming is a fiercely competitive world where groomers vie to turn their dogs into ever more outlandish designs, with the owners as colourful as their canine creations.

Every year they come together at the world’s largest grooming event in Hershey, Pennsylvania: the Olympics of creative grooming.

 

The competition has always been dominated by big American groomers. But now, one British dog-lover, Su Eld-Weaver, travels with her poodle, Dobby, in an against-the-odds bid to beat the Americans.

For the first time in history, could a British dog triumph at Hershey? And could Dobby become the first non-American poodle ever to grace the cover of the industry’s prestigious Groomer to Groomer magazine?

 

First Broadcast: Channel 4 – 30th December 2013

Company: Swan Films
Producer: Joe Evans
Director: Marvyn Benoit
Music: Alexander Parsons

 

“Think of the movie Best in Show and ramp it up ten notches.” The Guardian
“Hilariously funny…Simon Callow’s straight-faced narration makes it unmissable.” The Observer
Prepare for your jaws to drop… It’s like the film Best in Show but actual real life.” Heat

Are You a Psychopath? Test Yourself

Broadcasting on Channel 4 at 9pm, Psychopath Night is a two-hour documentary I had the pleasure of scoring, alongside good friends and collaborators Sandy Nuttgens and Spike Scott.

Psychopaths are a ruthless breed who lie, manipulate and sometimes murder with no hint of conscience of remorse. One per cent of the population are classified as psychopathic. There may be one in your office. There could be one on your street. They are all around us, often in positions of power.

Psychopath Night unravels the mystery of this minority, with the help of leading experts. The programme goes inside the minds of psychopaths, finds out how to spot a psychopath, and meets real psychopathic killers.

What Makes Me, Me
Nominated for a BAFTA

I am delighted to announce that What Makes Me Me? And Other Interesting Questions has been nominated in the Learning – Primary category for the BAFTA Children’s Award.

What Makes Me Me? And Other Interesting Questions is a humorous and engaging series of short films voiced by Robert Webb, exploring fundamental philosophical concepts through everyday questions that children ask, and adults often struggle to answer.

The series was broadcasted on BBC Two in February 2013 and is available on Class Clips.

Executive Producer for BBC: Katy Jones
Executive Producer: Andy Glynne
Producer: Kerry McLeod
Director of Animation: Nandita Jain
Additional Animation: Federico Parodi
Music and Sound Design: Alexander Parsons

Life In a Day: The Minicab Office

Life In A Day – The Minicab Office is a heart-warming, funny and surprising documentary about city life seen through the eyes of taxi drivers.

Courtesy Taxis is one of the biggest taxi firms in Norwich, with its 57 drivers and staff manning the office 24 hours a day, there is never a dull moment.

At the weekends the taxi office’s waiting room is usually full of clubbers looking for somewhere warm to eat their late night kebab. During the week Courtesy Taxis hosts all sorts of different characters, from the beloved old couple to the stern businessman, there is always a story to be told.

A ‘mini-rig’ of fixed cameras in both the mini-cab office and within the taxis themselves gives never seen before access to customers, following the story and journey seamlessly.

Producer: Tammy Hoyle
Production Company: Mentorn Media

Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body

I’m delighted to be composing the soundtrack to the Channel 4’s and Mentorn Media documentary Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body.

Ever since he was a teenager,  Alex Brooker (one third of the Paralympic runaway hit show The Last Leg) has struggled with his weight. Now he has decided that it is time he did something about it. He has three months before he embarks on a beach holiday to Croatia with his gang of super sporty mates and he is determined to get in shape before he gets his kit off in front of the gang.

Self shot by the director Eddie Hutton-Mills, the film will give a very intimate, bright and funny look into the world of male weight loss and body image.

To keep up to date with his progress, Alex has set up a blog. You can also follow him on Twitter here.