Chris Kimber - Biography continued . . . .

In the break after GCSE exams in 1988, Chris worked with friend Richard Brown on their epic "Freefall" -

            "We had been composing this on 2 pianos for a while -  to be fair, Richard

             wrote most of it and I just added a few ideas and chord patterns here and

             there. It was a mammoth task then, we only had four tracks and wanted

             really complex arrangements. We were pushing our equipment to the limits.

             I even remember recording the Bass part and melody line on the same track,

            and used EQ to bring the melody out. We used 1 track of sequenced synths

            on a Yamaha hardware sequencer, and the rest was all played live. We got

           some great sounds going, a few memorable sessions involved setting up a

            drum kit in the Ladies toilet by the studio, the acoustics were fantastic, it's a

            real shame they've carpeted it now! There was also the time we got a group

           of people (including staff) jumping up and down on wooden boards with

          sleigh bells and tambourines for one section - sadly we didn't use it in the end.

           We were also lucky with the end section played on electric guitar. One of our

           "A Level" colleagues, who was terrible at reading music, was great at

           improvising and we got him to do a few solos over our backing and it just

           sounded great! We wrote out an equipment list which went on for ever."

          "The piece eventually got finished and mixed a year later onto reel-to-reel        

            tape and Richard did the splicing - a few of the edits suffered a little under

          the knife but there were too many different sections to make one complete mix.

           I've got some great photos of the bits (of tape) that didn't make it"

As part of the A Level exam Chris had to include a number of compositions, including one "large" piece, which he decided to write for Symphonic Wind Band -

         "I had been with the Sutton Wind Band for 3 years and loved the sound a band

           like this created. I had a load of musical ideas and wanted to put them together in a piece."

Chris first had a chance to write for wind instruments when he wrote a short piece for a school 20th Century music concert. Titled "Ovis Cum Lana Nigra" this was later developed into the full 15 minute symphony -

        "The idea had been inspired a little by the great fugue at the end of Britten's     

         "Young Persons' Guide to the Orchestra" the idea being of a very busy

         accompaniment to a very simple tune. This accompaniment then came the main

         theme of the piece and also the finale. After sorting out the instrumentation and

        the ranges of each instrument I literally started with a blank score and worked

        the whole thing out on a piano. It took ages! It is fair to say that this was

        probably the only time I could have done this - I couldn't imagine working this

        way now. I thought about every part individually - I believe it is common

        practice to score some instruments the same eg Saxes and Horns or whatever,

       but all the parts in  "Ovis" are individual, sometimes even taking into account

       the ability of particular players at the time.

       I have always maintained that I can only write for something that is going to be

       performed, otherwise what is the point? It's just dots on a page."

During all this period, Chris was building up a collection of records from chart acts, most specifically Mike Oldfield.

       "I can't deny that Mike Oldfield has been an enormous influence on my musical style

        and  love of modern instrumental music. My dad gave me a copy of Tubular Bells for         

        Christmas in 1984 as I had heard the famous opening somewhere and asked what it

        was. At first I didn't listen beyond the first few minutes, but during the following

        year I gave it another listen and fell in love with it. After this it was only a matter

       of time until the collection grew and by the time I left school I owned all his albums

       and even some of the rare singles! What I loved most of all was when there were a

       million overdubs, really busy music, when you hear something different every time

       you listen - though to be honest not that much of my music is like that at the

       moment! I appear to be more like Vangelis."

Other influences were - and still are - Vangelis, YES, Early Genesis, Renaissance, ABBA, and a load of "Easy Listening" compilations.

Return to main page                                          More->