Tag Archives: Library music

End of Year Approaches

My website is under reconstruction at the moment so while that’s happening here’s the latest news:

After several month’s intensive studio work I finished my new album, “Music By The Yard” in early December and plan to release it as a download in January 2012, hopefully with a CD version following. It’s quite a departure from the previous stuff I’ve done – part beat-tape, part library resource, part abstract breaks/prog rock sampler. The album was created in a flurry of activity between February and December 2011 and features 23 tracks designed to be played in any order.

This is “6 Figure Some”

The album reflects a lot of the stuff I was getting into through 2011, starting with the huge effect Suite For Ma Dukes – an orchestral tribute to J Dilla:

had on me, which then took me back to the hip hop and gave me an appreciation I’d never really had before. I hope I’ve done this justice on the new album…here’s another tune, “The Karaoke Sauron”, named after Marina Hyde‘s acerbic take on the evil mastermind behind the X-Factor.

You can check out my latest Mixcloud session to get more of an idea where I’m coming from.

Another big influence – not only for hairy funk grooves, and prog stompers – but also for brevity of tracks – were Andy Votel’s epic mixes, especially Vertigo Mixed,

Music To Watch Girls Cry

and Songs in The Key Of Death on Fat City

….the fuzzed up guitars, leaden drumbeats and wonky time-signatures really took me back to my youth, obsessively staring at the Vertigo spiral as it span on my parent’s radiogram and seemed to go into 3-D (without taking any drugs, honest)

on albums such as Black Sabbath and Gentle Giant’s first eponymous releases, the latter featuring this one:

…so it was quite buzz to hear that Madlib and MF Doom had sampled this track “Funny Ways” on their excellent Madvillainy album:

So the template for this record was essentially short tracks, textures, beat-heavy and with elements of prog rock, library music and LOTS of strings…and plenty of non 4/4 rhythms.

Above all 2011 has been the year I’ve started buying records (as opposed to CDs and mp3s) again, not only from carboots (although these have been particularly fruitful) but also seeking out second vinyl shops, which have been on the up this year. Like the fantastic Disc-O-Box shops in Weymouth and Blandford, Dorset.  If you’re in the area, give them your support, they are an invaluable public service, with tons of great vinyl plus CDs and DVDs!

Early in the new year I’ll be posting a special mix of the album, interspersed with lots of spoken word snippets.

Meanwhile here’s another track – Horizontal Hold – with film shot on my Digital Harinezumi.

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Circling over the library…

…still on the Library Music theme I wanted to post this track from a KPM album, “Flamboyant Themes Vol 3” – which I was sent on vinyl in the early 1980s whilst working at the Triangle Arts Centre in Birmingham, England.  The LP also contains the classic “Gala Performance”, better known as the theme for “This Is Your Life”.  It’s amazing to think that a piece which was written as a piece of library music then became synonymous with the programme for about 30 years.

This one, “Little Boy Blue” by Syd Dale is one of my faves, full of blasting horns, cool double bass breakdowns and lush alto flute runs.

KPM generic album cover

Also on a library tip, I found a great track by the Library Vultures, appropriately called “Library Vultures Theme” on Turbotrax that fuses some of the urgency and propulsive nature of the best library music with hard hitting beats.  More please.

This big band/library sound was to have quite an influence over a band I formed in the mid-80s, BIG MOMENTS, with PK CHOWN (now of the Blue Planet Sound).  Styling ourselves “the Late 80s Big Band” we were clearly a Thatcher-era austerity big band as we only ever reached about 11 members, with four brass, piano, double-bass, drums, percussion and PK and myself taking lead vocal duties.  Here’s our one and only promo, shot on Super-8 at Birmingham’s Faces Night Club:

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The Music Library and other reading

This is my first post on WordPress, so hello to both my readers!  I was previously posting on blogspot so if you’re interested you can catch up on my sporadic bits there, here (here, there, everywhere).

Here’s my latest mix on Mixcloud featuring Luke Vibert, J Dilla, Ebo Taylor, Okayplayer’s Bollywood/hip hop mashup, a reggae cover of the Dr. Who theme, and more.

Thanks to my old mucker DJ Dick for the heads up on Radio 4’s recent programme on Library music, which reminded me a) to check out what presenter Jonny Trunk is up to with his fascinating website and label, Trunk Records, b) what a lovely book and CD he put together with help from Jerry Dammers, the Music Library

– always a source of inspiration, especially the artwork.

Oh, and c) – what a genius was Basil Kirchin, composer of albums such as Abstractions of the Industrial North

Basil Kirchin album cover

from which this is a nice track…..

and Primitive London

Basil Kirchin soundtrack album cover

also out on DVD which I’m looking forward to seeing, described as a 1965 Mondo film, complete with teddy boys, strippers, chicken processors and deviants of many types.

Apparently Kirchin, originally a jazz drummer, was way ahead of the curve having spent five months at a temple in India during the early 60s before moving to Sydney. Tragically all the master tapes of his band were lost when his belongings fell into the sea whilst being unloaded at the docks.

Nevertheless he produced some incredible library and soundtrack music which had an obvious influence on bands such as Stereolab and Broadcast (whose singer Trish Keenan sadly died earlier this year.  The last mixtape she made for a close friend is well worth checking out) I can even hear an influence on Soft Machine in some of his stuff.

One last plug for a book I’m reading at the moment

ostensibly a story of how an appreciation all modern music can be bookended by Kylie’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” and Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting In A Room (no me neither) it is in fact a masterful piece of rock journalism, a history of how and why Paul Morley became the greatest rock writer in the world (his words – but he’s probably right) but much more importantly it lists virtually all of the important musical, technological, cultural events of the modern age.  All in his own very readable style.

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