Primarily the brainchild of musician Matt Winn (aka Wienevski), (20 September 1965) the British experimental dance act D*Note originally emerged out of London’s rare groove scene, with the 1993 debut LP Babel reflecting a strong acid jazz background.
Though part of the acid jazz scene of the early 1990s, D*Note was always also influenced by twentieth century French and English classical music and modal jazz. Influences from the jazz world include Miles Davis, the polytonalities of Bill Evans, and the European harmony of Keith Jarrett, exemplified by the ECM label. Classical influences include Maurice Ravel who’s polytonalities can be clearly heard in D*Note use of lydian modes (what are known in the jazz world as “sharp elevens”.), and Debussy, Vaughn Williams, and Aaron Copland. Another key influence who can be clearly heard on D*Votion and “Deep Water” (another collaboration with Ceri Evans) on the second album “Criminal Justice”, is the American minimalist composer Steve Reich. D*Note contributed the Phased and Konfused remix to Steve Reich composition Piano Phase, featured on the 1999 Reich Remixed album.
The second D*Note album, “Criminal Justice” was released in 1995 on Dorado Records and, its most well known track, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, features the vocals of PY Anderson. Like D*Votion, the track is an example of ambient music.
Drum and Bass was also a feature of D*Note music since “Criminal Justice”, where D*Note mixed drum and bass rhythms with Jazz harmonies, particularly in “Iniquity Worker” and “Criminal Justice” – remixed by Roni Size and A Guy Called Gerald. “Iniquity Worker” was an early example drum and bass music featuring jazz elements. As well as in the UK, it was released in 1995 on TVT records in America.
After two albums on Dorado, 1997 saw the release of the eponymous “D*Note” album on Virgin dance imprint VC (Virgin Club). Featured tracks include “Lost and Found” and “Waiting Hopefully”. The soundtrack to “Coming Down” the short film was released in the same year.
In 2001, ‘Fuchsia Dog’, the fifth D*Note album was released on Channel 4 records, along with another film, “Out Of The Game”, which it accompanied as a soundtrack. Much of the album displayed house influences, but also deeper use of ambient layering of sound. Shed My Skin, a co-composition with Anita Kelsey and featuring her vocals appeared on over a 100 compilations albums.
The sixth D*Note album, Laguna, featuring Beth Hirsch, was released in 2006 on New World Music. Hirsch is well known for her vocals on the first Air album Moon Safari. Laguna features cover versions of songs that figured as key parts of Winn and Hirsch’s musical influences, including Guinevere by David Crosby, Edith and The Kingpin by Joni Mitchell and Being Alive by Stephen Sondheim.
Winn is also a film writer/director. “Round The Block” featured Jason Isaacs and Jmmy Nesbit and “Coming Down” (1997) was an early example of a film to capture the Briitish dance and clubbing scene of the 90’s. Matt Cooper and Matt Winn collaborated on the soundtrack to Winn's first feature as director, “January 2nd”, in 2007.