Saturday, 31 January 2015

'Leap of Death' reviews

Here is a good review of 'LEAP OF DEATH' in this month's Uncut Magazine. 

What's more, it was also included in John Mulvey's 154 best records of 2014! (coming in at #71). 

Sunday, 4 January 2015


After its premier at Brighton Cinecity Film Festival last month, I'm glad to be able to share 'THE GREAT WORK,' an animated short film by Borbonesa for which I created the title music and sound design.

Here it is, followed by some text I wrote for them about how it was made:

The Great Work from Borbonesa on Vimeo.

The soundtrack for the 7 sequences of 'THE GREAT WORK' were all produced from the same audio source material: an unlabelled cassette tape found in a charity shop in Margate, Kent. The tape features a long personal recording of conversation during a car journey, and on the B side, what sounds like an amateur radio show with excerpts of 'light' music and commentary. The sounds on the tape were sampled (converted to digital files) and edited, processed, and resequenced, and mixed to create the score. 

The title music is entitled 'The Great Work'. It was composed as a woodwind quintet with percussion and recorded using a multi-track ('sound-on-sound') process in which I played all the parts. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014


The 'LEAP OF DEATH' limited edition bookwork/LP is now available for purchase!

It can be ordered at the LEAP OF DEATH project webpage:

You can also see/hear the work in digital form here, and link to a free download of the music.

Please see below for project info.

The film 4 Devils was released in 1928 by Fox Film Corporation. Directed by F.W. Murnau (Sunrise, Nosferatu), the circus-themed melodrama was a full-fledged Hollywood production of the late silent era. After its release, the film disappeared, and remains 'lost' to this day. 

85 years later, composer Robert Stillman, writer/printmaker Anna Fewster, and bookbinder Sarah Bryant conjure 4 Devils back into existence with 'Leap of Death', a limited edition bookwork/LP that resurrects the lost film as 'imaginary fragments' of original music, image, and text. 

Drawing inspiration from existing 4 Devils archive materials such as scripts, production stills, and promotional matter, as well as from Les Quatre Diables, the 1890 Herman Bang novella upon which the film script was based, Stillman, Fewster, and Bryant's work reconstitutes the 4 Devils narrative as an impressionistic 'atmosphere' of black-and-white trace monotype images, letterpress text, and through composed music, inviting an interpretive, non-linear experience of Murnau's story-world. 

The bookwork/LP is available in a limited edition of 50 numbered copies, each consisting of one vinyl LP, six booklets, and three posters, collected in a clothbound enclosure.

Leap Bookwork Movie from Robert Stillman on Vimeo.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Leap of Death Launch

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the LEAP OF DEATH launch event Tuesday night, and to Sounds New, Arts Council England, and Canterbury Christ Church University for supporting the project. 

The Archaic Future Players: James Maddren, Kit Downes, Theon Cross, Magnus Dearness, Nick Malcolm, Robert Stillman

Thursday, 10 April 2014


Work on the LEAP OF DEATH bookwork/LP is in full swing in preparation for the launch event on 6th May at Sounds New festival. Here are some images of work in progress from Anna Fewster's twitter and Sarah Bryant's blog

Sunday, 23 March 2014

'Leap of Death'

Much of my past year has been devoted to a project called 'LEAP OF DEATH'- it's a collaboration with printer Anna Fewster and book artist Sarah Bryant, creating a limited edition bookwork/LP in response to the 'lost' 1928 film '4 Devils'. We've been drawing inspiration from the mysterious, fragmented archival remnants of this film (production stills, promotional material, film scripts, etc.) to create an 'impressionistic reconstruction' of its narrative using original music, imagery, and text. 
On 6th May 2014 we will launch the project as part of the Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival. The event will include a performance of 'Leap of Death' by the Archaic Future Players (RS, saxophone; Kit Downes, organ; Nick Malcolm, trumpet; Magnus Dearness, trombone; Theon Cross, tuba; Sean Carpio, drums). The music will be augmented by projections of text and imagery from the bookwork. Before the performance, film scholar Michael Lawrence (Sussex University) will give a short talk. Copies of the bookwork/LP will be on display, and there will be refreshments. 

Click HERE for tickets to the launch event. 

The day before the concert, there will be a printing/bookbinding workshop led by Anna and Sarah at the Sidney Cooper gallery. Click HERE for info and to book a place.