26 Aug 2020
We spoke to renowned West One Music Group composer Zac Jordan about his latest release with The Scoring House label 'Doors of the Mind'. The 23 track album is filled with subtle, emotive memories and moods. Creative percussionist, Joby Burgess also features on the album. Joby has a huge collection of tuned and non-tuned percussion instruments from around the world, so this project presented the perfect opportunity for Jordan and Joby to join forces.  The resultant effect is that you don’t quite know what you are hearing sometimes, but all the tracks have a very ‘real’ and personal feel that takes the listener on a journey. 


Can you tell us a little bit about how the concept for this album came about and what your inspiration behind the album was?

Having composed television soundtracks for 20 years, I believe more and more that a soundtrack can be most effective when it is pared down so each musical part has a purpose. I wanted to create an album following this mantra, but also to compose a collection where the music comes from a very personal and thoughtful space, with a handcrafted delicate touch. I believe this sparse approach to scoring then gives the visual images and story more ’space’ to breathe.

The album features live percussion throughout, giving it a very interesting sound. What was your thinking around selecting which sounds to convey – were you inspired by anything in particular?

I have recorded world-class percussionist Joby Burgess on many of my television soundtracks, as he has an amazing collection of unique percussion instruments, both tuned and untuned. I felt the time was right to collaborate with him on ‘Doors of the Mind’ as I knew my electronic music combined with his unusual playing techniques would create a very distinctive and compelling sound for this album.


Is there anything special in the way the tracks were recorded – how did your creative process differ due to the recording and mixing all taking place in lockdown?

We were lucky in that we recorded all the percussion parts before lockdown in Joby’s own studio. I was keen to capture both the beauty of the instruments and Joby’s delicate artistic touch, so we recorded the instruments with very close mics to capture these details, as a lot of Joby’s instruments were recorded with him playing very quietly. I have found that when I compose for scripted drama these soft timbres work really well drawing the viewer into the drama unfolding onscreen. Many of the percussion sounds, I then processed electronically, so it blurs the line even further between my own electronic elements and Joby’s live percussion….creating a very unique & original soundscape.


Can you share with us a few of your favourite moments from the creation of this album?

I think we created something quite magical when we composed the track ‘Telling Our Story’. I wanted a feeling of forwarding motion and momentum in the piece but in a very understated.. almost subtle way. Joby suggested we try using metal brushes on the vibraphone which was a genius of an idea. It immediately elevated the track into something that felt distinctive, handcrafted and I hope quite special.


If you had to pick one favourite track – which is it and why?

‘A Lonely Life’ is one of my favourite tracks. When I started to compose this collection I would send Joby rough mixes of my initial concepts. He would then try adding percussion elements and send the recordings back to me. One of my favourite parts of this whole process was receiving these recordings back from Joby, as every part I listened to felt like opening another wonderful Christmas present, often inspiring me to change my original concept. For ‘A Lonely Life’ Joby used Thai Gongs, Alu Bells, Almglocken and a Bowed Vibraphone to create this delicate off-kilter sound. These instruments were incredibly inspiring to work with, so I created a section for low piano with some textural electronic chords. This combination, I hope pulls you into this quite surreal world. I hope to compose an entire score for the film using these elements one day.

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