Dean Stevenson

Musician | Songwriter | Composer


It’s 6am and Im awake. That in itself is not unusual; usually the dog and I are considering our way towards a run near this time. A few kilometers to smash the day into place. But at this 6am I’m still up to my neck in Doona bearing sonic witness to the rain as it strikes the windows sideways; blown in over the mountain at incredible speed.

Ordinarily, I would simply return to a sneaky sleep, knowing that rain had closed the running idea, but this morning the sound is so violent at the window that I’m still awake and sleep can’t beat noise. Not this much noise. I am, by virtue of being awake, now able to fully engage in today’s inevitable conversations that will begin with “How about that rain this morning? Wasn’t it amazing?”. Yes, I will say. Can say, as I am held awake to know its ferocity. 
Trying to punch through the clouds is the rising sun that at this stage has not yet the firepower to make it through. So a glow seeps into the room; a glow from a far off, indirect place. Like a great distant fluorescent globe, creating an indistinguishable quality like peripheral vision; you almost need to look next to a thing to see the thing at all. The light seems to emanate softy from things rather than upon things. A glow from the walls themselves, that wait for the sun to take mantel; to shoulder through the clouds. 
And the clouds know it. Soon enough, at 6.40, the rain eases, it’s windy transport gone away allowing the days rightful heir, the sun, to take up and begin. 
Now I could sneak another quick sleep, but light from technology has penetrated my eyes and begun my journey towards it. And I will keep moving towards it all day until I realize at the days end that the chase was a fruitless attempt to catch anything at all except a vehicle for my experiences of the work of the natural world. Which is after all, how it started. 

Tim Passes: A Mona Commission

Dean was commissioned over 2 years ago to write a major work for voice and orchestra to the provided poetry of Timothy Hamilton Walsh. There are 8 available poems remaining, making an hour long work that will premiere on opening night of Dark MOFO, this June 12th, 2014 at the Odeon Theatre, Hobart. Tim died in Tasmania over 20 years ago making this event a late celebration of his writings. It is long overdue as Tim’s writing has a social depth of vision that is utterly astounding. Dean has once again engaged his celebrated Arco Set orchestra into perform in its biggest concert to date.

You can buy tickets here:

Nothing like a deadline.

Extraordinary how the human brain works. All day we observe, absorb, collect, re-tell, confirm and update about the world around us. Those who write books, journals and such are the ones who understand the need for commonality and uniformity in human thinking. The rest of us lift those people to an elevated human position because they ‘speak, collect and collate’ for the greater human condition. The rest of us are self oriented collectors and curators of obscure information and bias. We don’t collect for the greater population, because we all harbour the idea to some degree that we are each unique thinkers and must therefor collate and process information differently to everybody else.

My mind requires a different food from yours even thought we may observe and remark on the same object, incident or idea. In doing this, we can become quite narrow in our want to collect ideas that are strange, or at least look like someone else’s stuff. And when we get busy, we can focus on the job at hand (especially if its someone else’s job) and our information scoop can get put away. Garaged for an available time. It can be easy to think you’re shut down sometimes.

But the information already collected sits there. Waiting. It must do. Where else can it go? I’ve often thought that if I lost a leg, would I lose thoughts, memories and ideas that have been stored in the cells there, waiting for the perfect day to retrieve them? Or perhaps waiting for the right smell to trigger their release? Like the smell of fresh baking brings my grandmothers face to mind. All because of one day, painting on a ladder near her kitchen window. But there; I didn’t need that smell to recall her memory then did I? Hmmm. I shall consider this further.

But when a deadline is presented, confirmed and paid for, there can be no greater trigger of style, genre, speed, colour, or mood. A pressing end to a project opens flood gates to collections that were until that time unawares to even you. (What else lurks within unawares?) I have a recording this weekend of music for a film. I’ve been sweating on it all week; arrangements, schedules, mood matching the images and such. But even now as I am still missing connecting fragments of music, the deadline has given me strength to stop writing the music…and write this! How is this possible, when last week I could barely string a sentence together. I was, perhaps hung over, but I’m sure my point is made.

When there is a reason to create, we create.

My best barometer for this need (without a 3rd party deadline), is to look at my record collection. If nothing inspires me to listen to it, take it from the shelf and drop the needle, no familiar sound wants to spark old memories, I know the only sound I can hear is the one that I have to write. Now! My mind needs a new music that is a response to all the listening that came before it. And it can only be written by me.

16 legs: Spider Film

16 legs: Documentary of the Tasmanian Cave Spider, filmed  in 4K. Approached by the Bookend Trust, Dean has composed music for a documentary short film on the Tasmanian Cave Spider for a natural film festival in the UK this September. The full-length documentary is due for release in 2015 narrated by UK writer Neil Gaiman.



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