Mark Owen

Mark is an amateur composer and song writer living in the Tararua District in the east of New Zealand's North Island. As you'll see from the Home Page he has completed a portfolio of original folk songs telling stories from New Zealand local history. Always keen to experiment, he also enjoys composing in diverse musical styles including: country, contemporary classical, jazz and electronic dance music.

While still in his early teens, Mark had the good fortune to receive his first musical education from English composer David Gow who encouraged him and other students to sing folk songs. He progressed to studying music theory, spending many happy hours analysing orchestral scores and dance band arrangements. He attended concerts, hearing most of the popular classical repertoire, and collected jazz and folk  records.

Mark enjoyed dabbling with different instruments, as he still does, but early on realised he wasn't destined to become a virtuoso! Hence he concentrated on composing and arranging. His first composition was a suite of minimalistic, improvised pieces, akin to those of Erik Satie, composed to accompany recitations of poems written by the English poet T. S. Eliot. However, there were never proper scores and he can't recall the melodies, so they've disappeared into the dustbin of history.

In the early 1980s, already a confirmed computer geek, Mark became engrossed in electronic music. He  "composed" in raw computer code and wielded a soldering iron to assemble the audio effects circuits and amplifiers needed to perform the computer files. He was successful in that he only blew himself up twice through soldering short circuits, not needing to be hospitalised in either instance.

He was also an early adopter of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) synthesisers and experimented with what is now called "sound design".  However, as was the case for many independent musicians in that era, making high quality recordings was well beyond his budget. Thus, for nearly another two decades he channelled his creative energy into the graphic arts.

Around 2006 the technology was improving rapidly so he returned to music by setting up a laptop recording studio. It was still difficult to convincingly simulate many real instruments. So, using the Internet, he collaborated with vocalists and players of acoustic instruments. Examples of their excellent work are: Vision of Nowhere, Landslide Blues and Summer Dance.

Over the last two or three years, building on what he has learned from his collaborators, he has concentrated on improving his skills on keyboards, bass guitar and guitar with a view to performing a higher proportion of tracks himself. In keeping with modern trends, his ongoing experimental pieces may each combine disparate genres such as electronic dance music, ambient, jazz and classical.