Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Required listening

Regular readers of this blog will know that many of my mixes are conducted with BBC Radio 4 burbling in the background.

I wouldn't recommend this as a sure-fire technique to achieve sonic clarity in high-end productions.  But it works for me.

Anyway, this week's Book Of The Week is an excellent memoir from a Nineties pop star I never had much time for:  yer doll off of Everything But The Girl.  It's a nuanced study of what is was like to go from recording albums in the garden shed, to playing the Royal Albert Hall, as indie Red Wedge-supporting English Lit students.  It's a fascinating glimpse into an industry that - at the time - still allowed independent artists to fiddle about making different types of records, as they slowly built careers around their craft.

When I listen to Nick Grimshaw in the mornings, I know those days of artistic nurturing are gone.  Though how strongly they existed in the first place is a moot point.

Listen here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01r0cf3

Coincidentally, the author Tracey Thorn's husband has been soundtracking my Saturday evenings, lying exhausted on our broken bed in Twelve Whitby.  Ben Watt's 6 Mixes have been pulsing, lysergic and exactly what you need when lying exhausted on a broken bed at midnight.

Listen here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qrn50

I wish I could articulate my feelings on some of the themes touched upon in Thorn's book:  what is important, and what is irrelevant when it comes to writing, recording and performing music.  How the industry that surrounds these processes has changed over the last twenty years, and what that means for people trying to earn a living from their creativity.  And my largely absentee relationship with it all, inspired instead by peculiar ethics of artistic discovery, doing things for oneself, leaving good work behind above all else, losing yourself in the moment... borne out of something instinctive in me rather than a conscious decision to eschew all things Established.

I wish I could cogently articulate all these things and more, but cannot.  My mind won't entertain the matter long enough, before slipping off somewhere... perhaps it's because Radio 4 is on.

Instead, this from last night's rehearsal, which was brilliant: