The Reworking of 4 Notes- by Phil Bancroft and DJ Dolphin Boy-
commissioned by The Martyn Bennett Trust
The spark for the 4 Notes Re-Mix project was ignited a few years ago when The Martyn Bennett Trust held a series of events to celebrate Martyn’s legacy. This involved a series of intensive music workshops with young people led by some of Scotland’s most creative musicians and dancers followed by a diverse and dynamic concert in the Queen’s Hall, all inspired by Martyn’s vision of music. Alongside this, the Trust also commissioned 4 new pieces of music to be performed at that concert. One of these was the inventive and compelling ‘4 Notes Remix’ by Phil and Andy (Dolphin Boy). This same piece was further developed and performed again at Celtic Connections. This piece includes Martyn’s voice, telling of a particularly difficult experience, but we also hear Martyn talking about the richness and power of our traditional music and how well it compares with the music that surrounds us in this ‘throwaway culture’. Martyn tells us how his music is rooted in tradition and how he wants to ‘keep it going’. The track starts with a lament on the pipes and then, as Phil explains, moves through a series of variations inspired by Martyn’s original ‘4 Notes’ from the album Bothy Culture. In the track Phil and Andy poignantly capture something of Martyn’s vibrant outlook and his rootedness in the traditional cultures of Scotland.
Phil and Andy were asked by the Trust to record the remix through an educational engagement with students at the City of Edinburgh Music School, where Martyn had studied himself. The students were involved in re-creating samples to be used in the track and in observing the process from start to finish, from composition, studio recording of the various and many instruments, and in the technical aspects of mixing the track with Mattie Foulds at the controls. Students also made a short film of the process.
Part of Martyn’s original conception for 4 Notes stems from a conversation he had with Martin Swan, in which Martin encouraged him to compose a piece using only 4 notes. This piece, played along with ‘Ud the Dudouk’ became one of Martyn’s most epic live sets with Cuillin, with frequent changes of instruments.
For the recording of the 4 Notes Remix, Phil and Andy are joined by Martin Swan and Deirdre Morrison on strings, David Milligan on piano, Fraser Fifield on pipes and whistles, and Kevin MacKenzie on guitar.
THE MARTYN BENNETT TRUST