Skip to content

The OAR Needs YOU!

AILN presents the ‘Obscure Anime Reference Orchestra’ performing at How Original! A Concert! with The Slytones + The Finkel Brothers

Founded in 1973 by the late Héloise d’Albert, Marquise de Dunois and Lady Agustina Gutiérrez, the Académie Internationale de Luynes et Nicolay (AILN) aimed to provide talented musicians with the support and structure required to freely pursue their careers. Forty years later AILN continues in its efforts to aid not only musicians, but those in the visual, literary and performing arts – growing from its humble origins in Luynes to an international community.

In November 2013 conductor Anthony d’Albert (Tokyo University of the Arts, Conservatoire de Paris) and composer David Roche (Oxford, Cambridge), founded the Obscure Anime Reference (OAR) Orchestra (officially: Orchestra de Luynes á Cambridge) – via periphery support from AILN – with the aim of providing lively, engaging and thoughtful performances of music featured in both animation and video-games; as well as new works by talented and young composers.

OAR is now looking for talented performers to take part in its first concert this coming spring. This is an opportunity to take that theme, song, or piece – which reminds you so much of your childhood; or favourite anime; or those hours spent with your controller – and share it with others, or just have fun performing it.

If you’re interested please contact Anthony d’Albert ( and David Roche ( with your current musical grades / repertoire, repertoire and a short paragraph telling us about your most favoured work of animation or video-game music.

Read more…


round church

Absolutely awesome painting!

Mike Bain Art

Round church

View original post

Transcriptions & Schoenberg

Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.

A few days ago, whilst losing a polo match, I found myself transcribing in-between chukkas. This is pretty much how all conductors spend their ‘free’ time – we transcribe. Always. It’s in our academic nature. Then later, at our post-game supper, I had an interesting discussion with a club member about atonality, modern-classical music and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht / Pierrot Lunaire.

It goes without saying that I hate Schoenberg but what I hate most is students having to struggle with him. So, I scoured JSTOR (can’t believe my old conservatoire still allows me access) and found what I think are a definitive duo of essays on Schoenberg – covering tonal relations and motivic transformations. Here they are:

Tonal Relations in Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht


Motivic Transformations and Networks in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire

As you chow down on the aforementioned take sometime to enjoy performing my, piano / guitar / vocal, transcriptions of Yoko Kanno, Shakespeares Sister and the Chili Peppers. Anyone wanting to transfer any of these in to Sibelius then your best bet is to use PhotoScore. Enjoy:-

Voices (Yoko Kanno, 1994)

Yoko Kanno has always been one of my all-time favourite composers. Everyone knows her for the fantastic work she and The Seatbelts put into Cowboy Bebop. Voices, however, is one of those beautifully lilting – almost ephemeral – songs that is terribly unappreciated. Not only is this a must listen for any fans of Kanno-sensei’s work but so is it’s film, Macross Plus.

Voices (I)

Voices (I)

Read more…

Is Sub-Saharan Africa Worth Saving?

Philanthropy is involved with basic innovations that transform society, not simply maintaining the status quo or filling basic social needs that were formerly the province of the public sector.

How the RED journey works...

How the RED journey works…

Anyone who’s been remotely functional since 2006  will be aware of the revolution that is (PRODUCT) RED, henceforth referred to as (P) R. The brain child of self-styled altruist, U2 frontman, Bono and ONE / DATA, ‘Scroll & Key’ member, Bobby Shriver; (P) R is meant to be yet another chance for the rich to once more help the ailing nations of sub-Saharan Africa. All proceeds collected through (P) R are passed on to the Global Fund, a world-wide fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Nevertheless, not everyone has met (P) R with cheers. It has, instead, attracted critics from many circles. For one, my grand-uncle Jacques d’Albert (an unsung aristocrat who’s spent millions of Euros on successful sustainability projects in the Sub-Saharan region) added, ‘This is another selfish product pushing machine designed to sell merchandise under the guise of philanthropy’. It seems that this life-long philanthropist’s words are also shared by Mark Rosenman, of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, who wrote that it was an ‘example of the corporate world aligning its operations with its central purpose of increasing shareholder profit, except this time it is being cloaked in the patina of philanthropy’. Strong words for what is essentially a humane goal to eradicate the ‘toxic-triumvirate’ that plague Africa and stunt the development of many countries.

Jacques d'Albert, Comte de Dunois: unsung hero, anti-RED philanthropist.

Grand-uncle: Jacques d’Albert, Comte de Dunois – unsung hero, anti-RED philanthropist.

Read more…

‘Et tu, Ulbricht?’ – The Silk Road; Sad Times, or Good Riddance?

The Silk Road closes, being ultimately undone by its owner’s promotional zeal and professional carelessness. Ulbricht, you bloody fool!

I’m sat here, in between chukkas, post-debate with a teammate over the whole Silk Road, Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR, or IRL, Ross William Ulbricht), FBI fiasco. All I can ask, with the most incredulous of tones is, ‘Are you actually surprised?’

Requiem aeternum..?

Requiem aeternum..?

Let me set the scene for you guys: It’s 2011 and you’re intelligent enough (it would seem) to set up a site, accessible via Tor only, that happens to not only have nearly thirteen thousand drug listings for substances ranging from meth-amphetamines and cocaine, to LSD and cyanide for sale; but it also offers ‘legit’ forged passports, malware, stolen credit-card details and assassins-for-hire. Said site also happens to be run in the operating zone of three of the world’s largest criminal intelligence agencies (NSA, CIA, FBI) in a country with a stupidly foolhardy, and somewhat over-zealous, set of anti-drug laws.

Now, and we can stop with the hypothesis, if I happened to be Ross William Ulbricht (from here on referred to as DPR): responsible for a website with an annual revenue of approx. $30 million; handling approx. $1.2 billion in sales and producing $80 million in commissions, I’d make sure I’m as fucking anonymous as Satoshi Nakamoto. Don’t know who Nakamoto is? Yeah, he / she / they are that good!

Read more…

Evangelion 3.33 Q: Philosophy x Gainaxing, or a Confusing Mess?

This time is like no other for us in living memory! (Long may it last.) / Breathe the air, take in the feeling of peace and harmony! / Freedom can fly close to the sky. / Now we can shine! / Peaceful time, we’ve never had it so good!

Note: This is not a review but a *spoilerific* examination of the current, rather harrowing, trend in modern Japanese animation for pretension, faux-philosophy and abandonment of basic story-telling tropes via a close study of one of my favourite – ongoing – film series; The Rebuild of Evangelion. I assume readers have a passing knowledge of the series thus far.

An apt summation of the events to follow

Evangelion: Final – An apt summation of events to follow

Before I begin on what is basically a tl;dr rant on Evangelion 3.33, I’d like to write that I actually like the film on the whole – but as a stand alone film from the series with stupid characters. Commendations to Sagisu Shiro and the London Studio Orchestra for the soundtrack. The visuals were fantastic, especially the tesseract scene at the start and the introduction of Unit 13. Lastly, the film handled the tender Shinji-Kaworu relationship very well and it’s unequivocally the best iteration of their relationship yet.



Anyway! I remember back in boarding-school when I had my first lesson in composition; ‘Flow’ was the key-word I took away at the end of it. One sentence flows into another. One paragraph flows into the other. One chapter flows into the other. And so on. The same can, and should, be said of a tetralogy of films. In this case the much applauded Rebuild of Evangelion.

When Evangelion 3.0 came out late last year I felt like the only one who really liked it. Reviews in Japan were mixed (from popular media outlets) to vicious (from otaku on 2chan). Two weeks ago I was sent Evangelion 3.33 Q and, today, I decided to watch it back-to-back. That’s right, I’ve just completed a marathon run of 1.11 to 3.33 and I now understand what a lot of people were complaining about. I think my previous, rose-tinted, summations of 3.0 Q were because of the huge gap between 2.0 and it. I think I was just glad to be watching a new Evangelion film and listening to Sagisu Shiro’s fantastic new soundtrack. With that keyword, ‘Flow’, in mind, let’s first re-cap the two previous films.

Read more…

A Much Needed Thanks…to the NHS

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.

One of the most pervasive things in modern European society is an ingrained cynicism / pessimism that leads to everyone, from children to charted accountants, complaining. This is especially true of the British, or the English to be precise.

I’ve been schooled, lived and worked in the UK for years now; and still find the level of Daily Mail-esque moaning in England quite abhorrent sometimes – and this is coming from a guy whose countries of origin (France / Kenya) have riots and demonstrations practically every other day.

Read more…