The Friday Shediocast / Fri 12 Aug / 1:00pm
The Friday Shediocast
Every Friday throughout summer at 1pm, the tranquil wildlife area to the rear of The Hidden Gardens will be augmented by a programme of music sympathetic to the natural beauty of the surroundings. The chosen music- from many diverse eras and genres- will provide an al fresco soundscape intended to enhance visitors’ experiences of the Gardens. A public space where sight meets sound and both benefit.
Can music successfully gel with nature while at the same time avoiding tweeness and pastoral cliché? We think it can! Let’s see.
Friday 26 August, 1pm
Space is the Place, Sun Ra
Year: 1973. Duration: 43 minutes
…or Sun Ra and his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra to be exact! Few musicians underwent such a seismic identity change as the artist formerly known as Herman Blount, the Chicago based jazz pianist who reinvented himself as a torch bearer for cosmic funk, complete with space-age capes and psychedelic stage shows. ‘Space is the Place’ is a heady brew of bass, brass and incantation…a parallel universe of trippy time-travel. Fly me to the heliosphere, Captain! And given the abominable Friday weather of recent weeks we’re all hoping Mr Ra somehow conjures an appropriately sun-infested Shediocast this time around.
Friday 19 August, 1pm
Soundtrack from Twin Peaks, Angelo Badalamenti
Year: 1990. Duration: 50 minutes
Proving that less is often more, Badalamenti’s pared down score for David Lynch’s iconic TV soap has become almost as acclaimed as Twin Peaks itself. The music is inseparable from the visuals. The composer, prompted by Lynch (himself a musician), settled on a musical style at odds with the prevailing pomp and bluster of the times. It’s sultry and understated, dovetailing perfectly with the subversive narrative and cast of picaresque characters. One of the most evocative soundtracks of them all. Damn fine coffee optional.
Friday 12 August, 1pm
Masterworks (Retrospective), Edgard Varese
Year: 1983. Duration: 38 minutes
One of the many astonishing aspects about these six recordings is their age: most were composed in the 1920s/1930s, fully justifying Varese’s reputation as the “father of electronic music”. Numbering Frank Zappa among his myriad acolytes, the Frenchman tore down the suffocating walls of conformity at a time when experimentalism was still a dirty word. Featuring a battery of percussion, atonality and unheard-of titles for the time (‘Hyperprism’, ‘Ionisation’, ‘Poeme Electronique’), this is arguably amongst some of the most futuristic music ever made.
Friday 5 August, 1pm
Space, Jimmy Cauty
Year: 1990. Duration: 38 minutes
Better known as one half of the KLF, this solo album by Jimmy Cauty is a headtrip round the solar system , recalling the output of pioneering German electronic band Tangerine Dream from decades before. The story goes that Cauty and then-collaborator Alex Patterson (who went on to form The Orb) mistakenly removed the drums from material they were working on and, presto, the genre that became known as ambient
house was born. The album was scheduled to be The Orb’s debut release but Cauty and Patterson fell out and the former hijacked the project, removing the latter’s contribution from the recordings.
The result is a spacey, stripped down series of instrumentals (Mars, Jupiter, Mercury etc) segued into one continuous track. Fasten your seatbelts…
Friday 29 July, 1pm
The Insect Musicians, Graeme Revell
Year: 1986. Duration: 44 minutes
Although better known for his cult-y Soundtrack work (‘Dead Calm’, ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’), New Zealander Revell boasts a previous life as an explorer and manipulator of found sound. On this mid 1980s release he painstakingly recorded the daily doings of a large array of insects – moths, wasps, beetles, bees etc – and Frankensteined all the humming, thrumming and throbbing into what could be described as an entomological orchestra. Amazingly, the idea not only works, but is astonishingly effective; a coupling of the Natural and the synthetic that transcends novelty.
It will be interesting to see how The Hidden Gardens’ own resident insect community react to this aural invasion by their kin. We sincerely hope they are not alarmed. Or angered. The Hidden Gardens accept no responsibility for bites or stings and insectophobes may wish to consult an immunologist before attending(!). Long sleeved jumpers advisable!
Friday 22 July, 1pm
Planet of the Apes (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Gerry Goldsmith
Year: 1968. Duration: 51 minutes
Nominated for an Academy Award, this futuristic suite of percussion, brass and strings is one of Goldsmith’s most acclaimed cinema works, heralded at the time (and thereafter) as a groundbreaking score to the iconic film. The Hidden Gardens wildlife area should provide a uniquely complementary backdrop to Goldsmith’s visionary composition.
Friday 15 July, 1pm
Symphony of the Birds, Jim Fassett
Year: 1960. Duration: 41 minutes
Working with CBS radio technician Mortimer Goldberg, Fassett painstakingly pieces together fragments from field recordings of bird calls. By re-recording some of them faster or slower and then superimposing multiple playbacks onto one tape, Fassett and Goldberg weave the results together like an arrangement for symphony orchestra. Created in three parts- “Andante e lirico”; “Buffo”; and “Misterioso” -the Symphony was debuted by Fassett on one of his regular Sunday afternoon programs on CBS radio.
Backing Symphony of the Birds is another Fassett creation, A Revelation in Birdsong Patterns, in which Fassett and Goldberg take field recordings of various songbirds and slow them down to show the intricate musical motifs hidden to the human ear at the pitch and speed of the actual calls. Part of the enjoyment of listening to these works in the wildlife area will surely come from hearing and seeing the resident bird population’s reactions. What will they make of it, we wonder?
Friday 8 July, 1pm
Sacred Music from Sebatu (Bali), Orchestra Gong Kebyar
Year: 1972. Duration: 53 minutes
Essentially a live field recording made with two mics and a portable
tape deck (it’s 1972 after all!), this rare and beautiful release on the
German Archiv label features an arsenal of percussion played by over
30 cross-legged musicians. The sound is archetypically Indonesian; a
sonorous clang of gongs, cymbals, bamboo flutes and two-headed
drums that conjure notions of magic and loss. A real treat for the
ears this one, and it should sound even more spectacular in the leafy
outdoors of the Hidden Gardens. And all on glorious vinyl too!
Friday 1 July, 1pm
Delusion of the Fury, Harry Partch
Year: 1969. Duration: 43 minutes
Partch’s long and troubled journey from ignored eccentric to his rehabilitation as an American cultural icon proves that even the most resolute outsider might gain acceptance when styles and tastes and distant decades align in your favour.
In the 1920s he was already dreaming of a new music unrestrained by prevailing instrumentation and all its tonal limitations (“suppressed music”). He designed and built an orchestra of strange hulking instruments he called Zymo-Xyls, Crychords and Cloud Chamber Bowls, all fashioned from junkyard detritus. An early example of recycling?
His recorded output met with critical disdain and next to no sales, but he persevered, somehow scratching a living in lean times. Dying in 1973,he sadly wasn’t around to enjoy all the belated acclamation, including a Harry Partch Museum of Musical Instruments (in California) and a contemporary orchestra who tour the world performing his compositions. Not to mention a constellation of fans including the likes of Tom Waits.
It’s appropriate in this instance to preamble Delusion Of The Fury with a few short excerpts of Partch, passionate and single-minded to the end, discussing and demonstrating some of his creations not long before he died.
Friday 24 June, 1pm
The Next Dream, Bachir Attar
Year: 1992. Duration: 33 minutes
Shrill reeds evoking the (a)tonal murmur of swarming insects…propulsive percussion…eerie stringed instruments hewn from tree bark and camel intestines. It’s all here on this instrumental release from Sufi Trance meister Bachir Attar, whose father was the linchpin of Morocco’s acclaimed Master Musicians Of Jajouka (a troupe so exotic to questing 1960s ears that no end of Western counter-cultural adventurers – Brian Jones, Ornette Coleman, Timothy Leary et al – were forever popping in for tea, so to speak).
The music is simultaneously familiar and strange. Moody and meditative one minute, spiralling into the ether the next, the airy green spaces of the Hidden Gardens will undoubtedly complement these earthy, untamed recordings. Ecstatic dancing optional!
Friday 17 June, 1pm
The Plateaux of Mirror, Harold Budd & Brian Eno
Year: 1980. Duration: 42 minutes
Eno’s excursions to the margins of music are well-documented, but Californian Budd is arguably the more interesting, if less heralded, figure. Toiling anonymously for decades in the then commercial musical ghetto of minimalism – a field not yet ripe for popularity – this 1980 release is none the less now championed as a landmark in Ambient music. Languorous piano, bells and chimes, sporadic birdsong, snippets of a chorale…its starkness and understated yearning recall some of Erik Satie’s more pensive compositions.
The Plateaux Of Mirror never seems to resolve itself. It hovers. It teeters. It hangs in the air like a question mark, never getting to where it wants to go and leaving listeners with conflicting feelings of joy and melancholy and the sense we’ve just heard something attempting to commune with our deeper selves. Titles (all instrumentals) hint at Nature’s authority: Above Chiangmai, An Arc Of Doves, Wind In Lonely Fences…
If there’s such a thing as Ambient Soul, this is it.
Friday 10 June, 1pm
Red Buddha, Stomu Yamash’ta
Year: 1971. Duration: 32 minutes
Red Buddha predates the genre that was later commodified and marketed as ‘World Music’ by over a decade. On this album release from 1971, Japanese percussionist and composer Stomu Yamash’ta explored traditional Oriental themes married to a more contemporary and challenging Western approach. The result is one of the great/lost ignored instrumental classics; a soundscape of wood and metal, where marimbas and musical saws and strange ethereal snatches of sound conspire to produce a work that manages to be both subtle and simplistic. Red Buddha is an organic masterpiece. Music as nature intended.
*Parasols and waterproof ponchos available if poor weather prevails.