Season 2 of The Hidden People

The Hidden People returns for season 2. Who survived the collapse of the tower? And who might be found in the rubble? Those left standing embark on a magical quest to save the life of a friend.

Without wishing to spoil anything, I had much fun putting my traditional music first degree to use in the real world, with all that formal harmony, counterpoint and orchestration study helping me bring to life a great, colourful script by Chris Burnside, and a super performance by those who led the cast this week.

And an owl – I did an owl.

We made a new version of the theme song, too! I hope you like it.

Suspended at the Draw Art Fair

We were very excited to learn that Suspended had won one of three Draw/Camberwell prizes and was to be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery as part of the Draw Art Fair. Unfortunately, this had to be cancelled because of the pandemic, and is taking place on Instagram instead.

Here’s a link to the post showing Suspended

The Hidden People returns!

Season 2 of The Hidden People will launch on May 14th. I’ve been working hard since Christmas on this second season of the show, and I can’t wait to share it with you. Both the sound and the music go even further than before.

If you haven’t done so yet, do check out my in-depth discussion of artistic choices and techniques in a key action sequence in season 1. I’ve been getting some unexpected – but very welcome! – feedback from several places that it was absorbing and fun to listen to.

It can be found here:

Inscape and Escape – link to Mixcloud edition

The special programme aired on Resonance FM for International Women’s Day 2020 can be heard here. I talk to Rosie Wyllie and Catherine Henderson about the philosophy and techniques in the drawing and the soundtrack and we listen to excerpts from the film. The post of images accompanying the programme can be found here:

Intense geekery!

In this in-depth analysis of the artistic approach and technical choices of my work on The Hidden People, I spend over 50 minutes discussing 4 minutes of content!

There is much interaction here between sound design and musical semiotics and lively, well-constructed writing. I hope you find these things as fascinating as I do.

A link to The Hidden People by Dayton Writers Movement:

“Blood on my Hands”

I had meant to post here more now, as the new Inscape film, Roots, takes shape. I wanted to talk about my thoughts as we work on it.

Well, we are working on it now, and I’ve just seen Rosie’s first rough test clips from her garden studio, which are lovely.

My job at this stage is far more boring, as I have to figure out how to remote record a small group of children with varied accents while we’re all locked down for Covid-19. Right now, I think it will be tricky, but I am lucky with my connections, so who knows!

It’s hard for me to do more than keep up with existing creative/professional commitments right now, though, as I home-school and care for my two children. Please bear with me.

In the meanwhile, I extracted the whole soundtrack to episode 20 of The Hidden People, ‘Blood on my Hands’. In the end, I was proud of my work on this and what it added to the work as a whole. You can listen to the music in this episode and more of the show here:

On its own, much of it is quite ambient; parts are emotional, parts contemplative, but all of it has the same character’s music going through it like a heartbeat. I found it rather meditative to listen to in these strange times. Maybe it is a good companion for you too. I hope so!

Inscape and Escape – discussion on the making of Suspended


… if you are with me to follow our discussions on Resonance FM’s International Women’s Day programming!

I’ll be around today for answering questions in the comments section here.

The numbers in brackets are times when we talk about the image you see, for those of you listening on Mixcloud.

And here is a link to Suspended.

Do also catch it at the Draw Art Fair in May!

– Katie

William Kentridge (1:50)

Opening sequence … “its own, dream-like, reality …” (4:00)

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“Sparse, shrunk-down to pain and black and white …” (5:25)

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“… I always think of a sharp pain as a flash of white … vixen screams … tendril things …” (5:35 – 7:34)

[film’s narrator] … they started by hitting our feet with a stick, again and again…

“… ney flute … warm sheen … when the son is crossing the son is crossing the river …” (7:50 – 9:26)

… between our village and Lebanon there is only a river…
… so he crossed the river…
… and went to Lebanon…

“virtual synth patch from the beeping alert [of the dialysis machine] … continual merging and changing … never a point of conclusion …” (10:05 – 11:04)

… by this time…
… my kidneys were starting to make me feel unwell…
… my wife has mental health problems…
… she is on a lot of drugs now…

“… the click click click sound – I was trying to compare it to an old fashioned shutter slide, as a new chapter begins …” (10:40 – 11:14)

He didn’t want to join the army…
… so he shot himself in the leg…
… when my son returned to the army, the accused him of trying to avoid national service…

“… the piano was being a tolling bell quite a lot, going ‘dung dung dung’ in the low notes …” 🙂 (11:30 – 12:24)

…we were now in a war; unrest was everywhere…
… he lay there, dying, in the street…

“the main theme … derived from me trying to reflect … where Rosie’s drawing the dialysis machine with lots of wires and strings … that ‘stringy‘ tune, the twining, wind-y, rising and falling intervals of a 6th …” (12:25 – 14:05)

“… that’s not the sort of thing you normally get to do … to be able to generate the opportunities for the sound to tell the story … with the prison sequence, it’s so dark … but you can hear an awful lot of the prison …” (15:12 – 16:23)

… they tied our feet to the ceiling…

“… [the kestrel sound] introduces a real note of panic … the whole feeling of fear comes across very strongly in that scene …” (16:45 – 17:05)

… we were always afraid…
… we were in terror…

“… almost a kind of amnesia to the film, with these repeated sequences … the daughter at school, the son in prison … it feels like someone trying to grapple with different memories …” (18:50 – 19:55)

… we paid a bribe … (multiple repetitions of this image and phrase)
I wanted to make sure my daughter got an education. Now she speaks English. But she doesn’t teach me any!
… when I was a restaurant owner, I used to take a pot of coffee [around the village] … everyone knew me!
… being a stranger here is a rather bitter feeling…

“… a series of deliberately ambiguous sounds … the fact that he was living in both past and present at the same time … the sound of the pouring coffee became the rain in the gutter … the rain led to thunder, which turns out to be a bomb, so back in his memories in Syria again … one big plane of existence, nostalgia and present day suspended reality …” (19:55 – 20:25)

… would I go back to Syria? Under the current regime, absolutely not! But if the regime changed then, yes, I would return…

“… that British scene of people rushing past buried in their mobile phones … perhaps all our lives are suspended …!” (21:30)

“One of the most powerful bits is how long we sit on his face as he watches his son get hurt … I fade in a bit of the original speaker … it was such a sad room, there was so much heaviness … and I feel that comes across in that little snippet of audio …” (23:00 – 24:54)

… this was so very difficult … the hardest thing I have ever had to do…

“… the final sequence … in Rosie’s images and in the more emotional music than we’ve had, this is our – hopefully quite tactful – comment: we’re saying, “this is how we feel about it” …” (25:00 – 27:38)

Inscape and Escape on Resonance FM

I have some news!

The team who made Suspended, Rosie Wyllie, Catherine Henderson and me, have secured funding for a second film. We have decided to call our group Inscape, after Gerard Manley Hopkins. We think this reflects our specialism of exploring social themes through the subjective experience of the individual, using drawn stop-motion animation and immersive sound and music.

The film will be called Roots and will explore human migration from early history to the present day in a more holistic, poetical way.

Roots is due to release in the autumn. I will be blogging on my processes as I approach the soundtrack, but it is likely to use human voices – children to the elderly – in speech and song.

In the meanwhile, Resonance FM has programmed what looks like an exciting day of programmes this Sunday 8th March for International Women’s Day – and we are part of it!

We will be discussing the artistic and collaborative processes as we made Suspended – and Catherine’s cat, Dotty, made some valuable contributions to the discourse! Our programme is at 9-9.30am UTC, but will be available on Mixcloud afterwards if you’re not in the UK or if you like a lie-in on a Sunday!

Use these links to access this broadcast:

‘Dreams are Fragile Things’

The penultimate episode of the season!

This draws on lots of familiar music, but there’s some new stuff towards the end, too. Interesting to score disorientation… but I will not say more about that in fear of spoilers.

Sounds include me jumping off my own kitchen table – I’ll leave you to imagine the graceful athleticism – and, once again, the former trained singer was brought out of retirement to do something spooky.