A SOUNDTRACK FOR THE WORLD
BY CAMPBELL DOWNIE
2020 was the year the world changed as we knew it. At no other time in living, memory has every nation on earth come together to fight a common foe or work together to beat unfathomable odds. As the virus took hold across the planet, we watched hundreds of thousands die and millions of others adapt and stand together for the good of humanity.
This inspired me to return to my passion as a composer and tell the story of 2020 in the only way knew how to ... through a musical journey. I have tried to capture my feelings of this tumultuous year in the life of our planet by writing every month as it developed.
The music tracks and notes below will take you through this journey and the inspirations for my themes and feelings as each piece developed. I hope they can support the textures and stories that sit behind each pathway-
As I write this, we are still under the cloud of the Corona Virus and suffering still exists.
This music is dedicated to all those near and far who have worked endlessly to bring us all through or paid the ultimate price and to Sandra, the sanity in my bubble.
Campbell Downie, 1/ 2 / 21
A JOURNEY THROUGH THE MUSIC
Track notes and inspirations
Wuhan - A journey begins
The journey began in a market in Wuhan China. I wanted to capture the essence of the people, going about their everyday lives. The traditional instruments sit above a dark swell, that grows over time. The darkness dispels and lets the light of the traditional sounds through as if creating a false hope. In the end the speed gathers through the rhythms and the discord. In the end the virus marches and starts a swell of chaos.
Europe - A world changes
As the virus started to spread and presented itself in Italy and then across Europe it became clear this was no small event. In this track i wanted to capture the move from a traditional folk style piece into a pounding, growing, relentless theme that grew and grew with time and gathered pace within its intensity, never losing the origins of everyday people.
New Zealand Lockdown
As Covid 19 appeared in New Zealand the country moved fast to lock down and contain it at all costs. This piece opens with the sounds of the New Zealand national anthem. A country working together and moving forward. As it progresses the drive falls away as lockdown starts to hit home. Dropping out the themes to eventually leave nothing but the sound of birds, and a country in silence.
A world goes dark
Across the world the fear was now a reality. I wrote this piece in 7-4 so that it just did not feel right. Just as you think the rhythm of life may return it becomes out of sync once again. People across the world are stuck in doors, the daily life is not normal, so in this track just when you think a note will appear its ever so slightly late, maybe tomorrow.
The world watched as the famous city was hit hard, the world of business, entertainment and millions of people suddenly pushed into a place no one could have imagined. New York New York. From the opening bars the themes are not the usual upbeat sounds of this amazing city. This piece develops the theme from track 3 in the minor, a theme that now develops throughout the rest of the journey.
Every soundtrack needs love and this is my track dedicated to my wife Sandra. She took everything in her stride, made bread from scratch, hugged me at random throughout the days and together we kept each other safe. This track will forever be my favourite. I wanted it to be majestic.
The second wave
The second wave came worse than the first. I wanted this piece to push and march violently as the virus did across the planet. An army of invisible soldiers, a war on humanity.
What do we do now?
A feeling of helplessness, as we all watched the world from a place none of us have ever been before. Holding hope fo a cure, or a vaccine. I tried to capture emptiness and the spaces that were created when people left us. In the last sections the strings tell us that everyone is going through this.
No matter what each of us believe in, this piece is simply what it says, a hymn for the world.
Hymn for the world
Breath, clocks tick
By October we were counting the days to a vaccine being available. I wanted to represent the clocks ticking down to that day. Everyday one day closer, time keeps ticking, marching closer to the one thing that could change it for everyone.
Our television became full of factories, little bottles going round and round on machines. A vaccine was closer. This piece gives those machines a voice of urgency.
Silent world holy world
By Christmas the virus had mutated in the United Kingdom and panic was setting in. For me there was only two melodies to adapt, the world seemed silent and a new year held hope. This is the only piece where i chose to use something familiar but with a slight twist.
13 JANUARY 2021
A new world now
By January 2021 the vaccine was starting to roll out but into a new world, that would never be the same ever again.
I wanted to create a soundscape that replicated the personality of this vile disease. The spiky nature of its tendrils, the fear it brings and its relentless persistence, to change.