FATTO*    a little about what I’ve done

By Arco-X

14 January 2018

Arco-X is a composing pseudonym which I adopted a few years ago, partly because my actual name Tony Cox is commonplace, and I share it with hundreds of others online (some of whom are music creators of one kind or another), and partly to differentiate my current work from my earlier, less personal output.

I have had a long career as a musical jack of all trades, songwriter, pop recording artist, arranger, record producer, recording studio owner, composer of music for film, TV and commercials, general factotum to Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Broadway orchestrator.  Most of this activity occurred through happenstance rather than strategic planning and though much of it was a lot of fun, it wasn’t seriously creative.  Some further detail can be discovered in Wikipedia under Tony Cox (record producer), which is quite accurate but focuses mainly on a time long gone, and possibly reveals as much about the arcane interests of its author as it does about its subject.

From the start I had wanted to be a composer but, even as my range of skills grew with experience, so the flow of creative ideas seemed to diminish.  The nature of work in the commercial music field inhibits originality – ‘Can you write a string quartet like Mozart?’, ‘a song in the style of Dolly Parton?’ –  these were typical briefs, so I became a versatile pasticheur, a kind of musical forger.

Eventually I cut myself off from commissioned work by moving to an island in the Inner Hebrides for a creative reboot, a search for individuality.  And there, gradually, an original idea began to form in my head to compose using unusual, previously rarely or never heard seven-note modes (see Protomodalism 1). 

I have often worked on sessions with rock group and symphony orchestra, or singer-songwriter with string quartet.  I was seldom convinced that these cross-genre collaborations worked effectively, and worried that they showed neither party in a particularly good light.  Years of pondering the problem of integrating rhythm section with orchestra has led me to a new and more effective method, using a carefully chosen multicultural selection of hand percussion instruments. 

These new processes are working very well for me, and an album of compositions in this style is close to completion.  Also, in 2017 I joined forces with graphic designer and animator David Daniels to develop a symbiotic integration of his abstract animations with my protomodal musical tonescapes.  We are planning and working towards multi-screen, surround sound, gallery or studio installations of these collaborations in the near future.

* in English:  done                    HOME