David Shea * Ian Boddy

David Shea - The Ship


The Ship is David Shea‘s music for (and inspired by) the virtual reality game Materials created by Tom Crago. Perhaps ‘virtual reality artwork’ is a better description, because after its premiere in 2017, it was acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. So I don’t think you’ll find it in your local game shop.
‘The game transports us onto a ship and we are asked to journey through the virtual space, discovering its possibilities, to generate our own artwork. As we undertake the journey we are surrounded by ambient sound, created by sound designer David Shea, and we discover pieces of an artwork by Viv Miller that combine into the player’s own composition. […] The player could in certain locations make and enhance their own score additions by placing the sound objects onto a water mirror and experiment with new sound combinations.

That is of course a unique and personal experience that cannot be reproduced on a fixed media album. So for this release, David Shea has recreated the soundtrack into eight compositions that can be enjoyed without any knowledge of what it was originally created for. The Ship is an album of beautiful cinematic soundscapes – ‘a mix of singing bowls, gongs, samples, piano, instrument ensembles and cinema sound design.’

The only downside I can think of is that this music makes you want to experience the original VR game/artwork too. But that would require a trip to Melbourne, Australia.

Modal Operandi


Ian Boddy has been around for quite some time. Inspired by the music of Tangerine Dream he started composing music in the late 70’s. His first release was in 1980, his back catalogue now spans over 80 titles (not counting the library music he wrote and the sound libraries he designed for various sample packs). In 1999 he started the DiN label to release ‘ambient electronica that bridged the gap between the analogue sounds of the early 70’s and the digital soundscapes of the more experimental modern exponents of electronic music.’

Modal Operandi is created ‘entirely in the analogue domain, with each track based on a highly processed field recording’. The synths and effects used range from classic Roland and EMS, to Serge and Eurorack modules, to Moog and Buchla. In the hands of Ian Boddy this guarantees some wonderful otherworldly soundscapes.

All tracks are in the key of C Major; the album moves through the different musical moded of that scale – as can be read from the track titles: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aoelian, and Locrian. Which makes this album, in Boddy‘s own words, ‘a sonic journey in seven musical modes’.

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