After studying music at the University of York and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Pascal went on a wayward tour of different occupations, including running music education workshops for the Hallé Orchestra, becoming a journalist for the Independent and Guardian newspapers, authoring two books, writing and producing animation, comic strips and short films with Joe Berger (as Berger & Wyse) and performing on the trombone.
He has since focused on music composition and sound design, the seeds of which were planted when scoring the Berger & Wyse animation Covert, for Channel 4, in 2004. Since then he has scored films and animations for the Guardian – including Columbite Tantalite, a short written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gun Nation (Zed Nelson) and a range of animations and films for their Keep it in the Ground campaign. Pascal was one of the artists chosen by Touch to provide a soundtrack for the BFI’s Fairy Tales series. Television work includes music for Henry IX (UKTV Gold). Scores for short film include Kieron Quirke’s Carvery and Games Night, directed by Martin Morrison. He also worked as sound designer for the Guardian’s Off the Page season (with the Royal Court) and the newspaper’s film season in collaboration with the Young Vic.
Pascal has been involved with podcasting throughout the growth of the medium. Most recently he scored, sound designed and mixed Cautionary Tales, written and presented by Tim Harford, for Pushkin Industries. For the Guardian, productions include the Gene Gap, Traveller’s Tales, Adulting, Summer of Sport, Jemima: Who owns our life? and Going, Going, Gone. He scored, sound designed and mixed Haunted (Panoply), and wrote theme music and sound designed Folsom Untold (Audible). Other theme tunes for podcast include the BBC’s Step Back in Time and Pushkin’s Solveable. Pascal’s passion for field recording – which has taken him as far afield as the Antarctic, Galapagos and St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides – can be heard in podcasts, radio, various instalments of Touch Radio, as well as on Guardian projects such as Woodland Tales, created with Chris Watson.
An interest in spacial sound and ambisonics led to work in virtual reality. In 2018, Pascal was co-composer, with Chris Branch, for the site specific theatre show Somnai, produced by dotdot, which combined live action with virtual and augmented reality. For some of the Guardian’s VR productions – including Limbo, Crime Scene and Beat the Hustler – Pascal provided location recordings and then went on to mix and score.
As trombonist, Pascal was one of the founder members of the London Snorkelling Team, who’s album Audio Recording and Map gave birth to a multimedia show, The Island, which was performed at the Roundhouse in London, Edinburgh Festival, Latitude, Barbican, End of the Road and All Tomorrow’s Parties. He was one of the musical quartet for The Lost Disc, which ran at London’s Soho Theatre in 2018 (described by Stewart Lee as “A musical detective story, part comedy thriller, part concert experience, performed by a multi-tasking cast of impossible talent”). Pascal has played trombone for the Lyric Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, RSC, the Gavin Bryars ensemble, Peter Blegvad as well as sessions for television shows including Tin Star. He created a column for the Guardian called We’re Jamming, in which he combined an interview with a jam session, with a wide range of musicians, including Buzzcocks, Alabama 3, Django Bates, The Bad Plus and Matmos.
Having ranged across a variety of disciplines, Pascal is passionate about how music and sound design can collaborate – not just with each other, but with all the other components of a story to complete the picture.