Six Strings is Enough

Thoughts about music and society from guitarist/composer Mark Altekruse.

The threat inflation that led to the bomber and missile “gaps” of the 1950s remains a cherished Washington tradition. In memos written after September 11, then–Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged his staff to “keep elevating the threat” and demanded “bumper sticker statements” to gin up public enthusiasm for the global war on terror. The key, he wrote, was to “make the American people realize they are surrounded in the world by violent extremists.” What worked during the Cold War still works today: to get Americans on board with your military policy, scare the hell out of them.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage, to move in the opposite direction.

— E. F. Schumacher


Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student.

—George Iles

Mark Altekruse


"Frost" evokes the chill of a winter night.  I imagined watching frost slowly form on a window pane.

This track was originally written for the growing Hex Orchestra library.  Frost was recorded in a single pass in Logic with a Godin Nylon Multiac guitar. The MIDI functionality of the guitar controlled a pad designed in Logic Sculpture.

Mark Altekruse

—Nickel Plate

My grandfather, Donald Ezra Long, was a conductor on the Nickel Plate Railroad during the Great Depression.  This piece was written in his memory.

Lee Groves assembled this video to the Hex Orchestra track "On The Train".  Enjoy!

The Hex Orchestra tracks “Innocence" and "Spatial" are often voted into the Top Ten slot at Broadjam by fellow musicians and fans.  You are invited to sample all of our tracks available on iTunes.  
Thanks all!

The Hex Orchestra tracks “Innocence" and "Spatial" are often voted into the Top Ten slot at Broadjam by fellow musicians and fans.  You are invited to sample all of our tracks available on iTunes.  

Thanks all!

Hex Orchestra

—One Year Ago

One Year Ago, one of the first comps by Hex Orchestra, represents a musical journey.  Ideas for this piece were done in Mark’s home studio where Lee and Mark added a few parts and sorted through ideas.  During one of our many sessions at Earth Terminal Recording Studio in Odiham, UK we added drums and percussion parts plus additional guitar and keyboard tracks.  We hope you enjoy the journey!

  • Mark Altekruse, guitars and guitar synthesizers
  • Lee Groves, keys and programming
  • Pete Marett, drums
  • Miles Bould, percussion

Hex Orchestra

Sound experimental group Hex Orchestra was formed in 2006 by Mark Altekruse, Pete Marett and Lee Groves. “Hex” (meaning six) comes from the fact there are six strings on a guitar. This is the nucleus of the music they create, with an orchestral inspiration encapsulating their idea of three central figures driving the music along and collaborations with fellow musicians.

Mark, a former LA session guitarist and an avid player since the age of twelve, has been leading and championing guitar technology for many years, which brings a plethora of sounds not usually heard from a guitar to the album. Drummer Pete and sonic terrorist Lee have worked together for ten years. Pete’s beats and Lee’s flavours were the driving force behind break beat darlings Terminalhead. An enlightening studio stint for Lee (programming and producing many internationally successful records) with mix supremo Mark “Spike” Stent helped keep the album on the right track.

Hex Orchestra got started after Lee and Pete met Mark at Spike’s MixSuite in London’s prestigious Olympic Studios. After a series of initial jams and sonic experimentations in various locations, the 2007 album “Hex Orchestra” was born.

With several fellow musicians hearing the results, it wasn’t long before everyone wanted a piece of the action. Argentinian Dominic Miller (Sting / Julia Fordham / Pretenders) was one of the first to contribute with the beautiful track “Peace” which typifies Dom’s magical acoustic guitar style. Bass player Oroh Angiama, who at the time was on the road with Corinne Bailey Rae, made time in his insane schedule to add his upright grooves to the tracks “In Her Memory” and “On The Train”.

Vernon Reid from Living Colour was more than happy to contribute come blistering lunatic fretwork to “Human Experiments” - listen loudly if you dare - whilst the luscious, haunting string textures of Gill and Ellen from Echo add extraordinary resonance to the truly unusual “Nonagon”.

A chance meeting convinced Australian songwriter and guitarist Jeff Lang (toured with Bob Dylan, Kelly Joe Phelps and Bob Geldolf) to issue forth with some sublime slide guitar on the dub influenced “None” whilst the incredible tones of sax player and all round music-man James Knight brings “Innocence” and “De La Mañana” to life with his astounding melodies. The addition of incredible performances from percussionist Miles Bould and some ethereal vocals from Christina Hill enhance the mammoth 15 track Hex Orchestra album which looks set to fulfill the mission statement:

“Musical journeys creating images in the mind of the listener, for a film that is yet to be made.”

Lets hope the film can live up to this soundtrack.