1 Jul 2017

The Mixtape: Rhian Sheehan

From RNZ Music, 4:00 pm on 1 July 2017

Composer Rhian Sheehan has written music for a rollercoaster ride in Abu Dhabi, British National Space Centre shows that have been seen in 450 planetariums around the world, and a groundbreaking new mixed reality game.

The Wellington-based father of three presents seven songs that have informed his own evocative and emotional sound.

Rhian Sheehan 2013

Rhian Sheehan 2013 Photo: Supplied

The Selections:

1. The Beatles – Blackbird

This is the first song I can remember hearing. I would have 4 or 5. My mother used to play it to me on guitar. It was also the first song I learnt when I eventually picked up a up a guitar. It’s still a powerful nostalgia trip hearing this song. Takes me right back to my early childhood.


2. John Williams – Princess Leia’s Theme (from Star Wars)

John Williams’s music had a profound impact on me growing up. I was obsessed with his scores from an early age. I remember darting around Wellington city on my skateboard doing my paper run as a 10 year old listening to his score on my walkman. I felt like I was in my own movie.


3. Dan Poynton – Nga Iwi E

I went to one of Dan’s piano recitals when I was studying at Canterbury University in the late 90’s. His performance was mesmerising and inspiring. His album You Hit Him He Cry Out had profound influence on me, and introduced me to the works of other NZ composers such as John Psathas, Gillian Whitehead and Jack Body. His own composition Nga Iwi E is sublime.

4. Hammock – Shipwrecked (Flat on Your Back)

The Nashville based atmospheric two-piece Hammock are one of my favourite bands. They create some stunningly beautiful emotions from guitars and effects pedals. There music has had a huge influence on me over the years. They’ve since become friends (we were on the same US record label) and actually recorded a beautiful version of my track 'Borrowing The Past' a few years back.

5. Max Richter – The Nature Of Daylight

I’ve been a fan of Max Richter since his first release. The Nature of Daylight is somewhat overused in film these days, but it still gets me every time. In a way, it has almost become the modern equivalent of Barber’s Adagio For Strings. It fills the same space. Profoundly heartbreaking, but uplifting at the same time. It’s one of those emotionally engaging compositions a composer may spend a lifetime trying to write.


6. Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians: Section VI (Ensemble Signal 2015 version)

Life changing album. Also the best music for cycling.


7. Peter Gabriel – San Jacinto

Seems fitting to play after Steve Reich. There’s definitely a strong Reich influence going on here. But I love that Gabriel has always pushed the boundaries of popular music, and I also love his film score work, especially Last Temptation of Christ.