Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

11 Questions – Heidi

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Hi Heidi

Ahead of her appearance alongside Greg Wilson, PBR Streetgang, Jem Haynes and a host of local Leeds luminaries at our New Years Eve show, Heidi has taken the time to answer our famed 11 Questions.

Heidi has quickly established herself in Ibiza endearing herself to fans at We Love Space and fellow artists and DJs alike. She currently holds down a monthly slot with the In New DJs We Trust show on BBC Radio 1 where she gets to interview her favourite up’n'comers while showcasing the latest and greatest from her passion for booty-shaking techno, house and disco.

There is a ‘Varsity Workout’ mix you can download on her profile page to listen while you read, or why not check out her latest show on Radio 1 which is still available on the iPlayer.

Heidi also featured in our favourite video of the summer, have a look at the bottom of this post. With that, Heidi, it’s over to you…

Is there one book that you have read that has been life-changing for you?

I was really into reading biographies for a long time then it all got a bit same same for me, musician turned drug addict who turned their life around… blah blah. Fun to read and interesting but then I got bored and my friend turned me on to David Sedaris. I absolutely love this guy. Hilarious. He is very observant and writes about the everyday life situations and about himself and his childhood in those situations. All of his books are brilliant. I just bought the new one. Haven’t started it yet. Nothing life changing but very light hearted and they make me laugh out loud. Just what I need when I’m sitting in the airport wanting to get home.

Did your parents encourage you to work in music?

My parents were very into their music. They were quite young when they had me and my sister. They listened to a lot of classic rock, folk and blues. Music was constantly playing in our household… many times until 4am on a school night. Having children didn’t stop them from living their lives. I guess they were the reason why I became so involved with many different genres of music.

How did you begin to work professionally in music?

I moved to England permanently in 2000. Soon after I started working in record shops then in 2003 I helped open up London’s Phonica Records. That’s where I gained the knowledge and connections in the electronic music world. I sort of accidentally fell into the DJing thing. People kept saying I should do it because they liked my taste. I didn’t ever think it would end up being my career today.

How do you apply your past experiences to what you do today?

I’m not sure. I guess I just do it without thinking about it too much. It comes naturally for me. If something moves me I always gravitate towards it and see where it takes me.

Where is your current studio and what is it like?

I don’t have a studio. I’m not really a producer. I have done some music with my ex-boyfriend. We lived together and he had a beautiful studio. Full of a million vintage synths. Its fun but I prefer to be out and about. I have a hard time concentrating in a studio and channeling my ideas into one. So at the moment I just travel around and play other peoples tunes. Maybe one day my mind will calm down and I will be able to sit still long enough to make an album.

Heidi high up in the Red Box

How much have you had to consider marketing issues since embarking on your career and how has that affected your creativity?

I haven’t really had to do that seeing as I don’t really make music. The radio show I do on Radio 1 “In New DJs We Trust” speaks for me. I play what I love and have guests on that inspire me and that is my outlet. To try and bring underground dance music to a wider audience.

How would you describe your work?

Well by work you mean DJing… I would describe it as a super fun night out on the dancefloor. I love to see crowds get down old school style. No chin strokers allowed.

Who were your teachers?

I didn’t have any. I had to teach myself quickly. I went from not knowing how to mix to being put in front of 1000 people. For the first few years I was literally learning in the clubs. Yes I made plenty of mistakes but 5 years on I have figured it out. Some people might disagree but there will always be the critics. As long as everyone is smiling and dancing their asses off I have done my job for the night.

Your home is burgled but fortunately the culprits are caught and your possessions returned to you. What would you deem a suitable punishment for the burglars?

Rip all their finger nails out with a pair of pliars and then pour white spirits over them.

You have to make one species of animal extinct. Excluding insects, which species would that be?

Honestly at the moment I wouldn’t choose any animal. Our planet is suffering with enough of that thanks to us.

If you could spend one week in any period of history, which period would you choose?

I would kill to go back to the 1920′s. I’m so in love with the fashion from that era and it was a time of tremendous change in America. I wouldn’t mind popping into the Victorian age either. Well, I would like to visit most era’s before I was born. I’ve always been fascinated by history.

Thanks Heidi. Find her on facebook, twitter and myspace.

Andrew Weatherall for Radio One

Monday, November 29th, 2010


There’s a grassroots campaign starting to promote Andrew Weatherall to take over the coveted but burdensome slot of John Peel’s BBC Radio One show. Some would say that since Peel’s passing and the likes of Mary Anne Hobbs leaving the station, it’s diversity and usually ambitious nature has been found lacking. The Lowes and Macs of the world proclaiming The Swedish House Mafia as the ‘next great thing’ just really isn’t going to cut it for some people.

Although Peel’s boots are big and some would say beyond anyone to fill, Weatherall shares a certain brand of musical enthusiasm which has stood out in his seminal production work ranging from Primal Scream (check out The Music That Made Screamadelica) to Fuck Buttons. You can sign up to the Facebook page signifying your “Like” of the whole idea, here. Apparently Weatherall himself is not pushing himself forward for the gig but as Ashley Beedle is only too happy to say: “Andrew Weatherall taking over the John Peel slot would be so natural and so righteous – this man has knowledge, scope, a deep love of music and is one of the great raconteurs of our generation. Come on people – let’s make this happen before Andrew decides to turn left!”

Check the video out below for thoughts from a youthful (and longhaired) Weatherall on the subject of “substance” in music.

Andrew Weatherall’s Website

Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Plainview: I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people.

I saw some fairly long sections of the film, read the script, and just wrote loads of music. I tried to write to the scenery and the story rather than specific themes for characters. It’s not really the kind of narrative that would suit that. It was all about the underlying menace of the film, the greed, and that against the fucked up, oppressive, religious mood and the kid in the middle of it all. Only a couple of parts were written for specific scenes. I was happier writing lots of music for the story and having Paul Thomas Anderson (the film’s director) fit some of it to the film. – Jonny Greenwood

Plainview: Did you think your song and dance and your superstition would help you, Eli? I am the Third Revelation! I am who the Lord has chosen!

If you haven’t seen this film wait for a day when you are ready for a surreal, jaw-dropping, no-holds-barred barrage of hyper-reality. A story about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business. Daniel Day-Lewis clearly immerses himself so far into the role of prospector Daniel Plainview that it is frightening. The movie takes place in early 20th century arid Texan and Californian plains – where oil has been discovered and is primed to be exploited. Plainview and other prospectors are rapidly spreading across the land, trying to convince the unwitting local farmers and ranchers of old western settlements that their oil drilling will bring prosperity to their towns. The period setting of emerging capitalism is juxtaposed with a twisted and haunting modern classical score that only adds to the bizarre drama which unfolds onscreen.

Eli Sunday: Don't bully me, Daniel!

It was surprising to find out after listening to the soundtrack that it was composed by Jonny Greenwood the guitarist from Radiohead (a band that despite their constant acclaim, in all honestly passed me by). Greenwood’s score is captivating and greatly contributes to the literally tectonic forces which lie beneath the drama. The music is performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra led by Robert Ziegler, the Emperor Quartet, and special mention must go to the minimalist brooding performances from Caroline Dale on cello and Michael Dussek on piano. The score was considered a shoe-in for the Academy Award for Original Music Score at the 2008 Oscars, but it was ruled ineligible due to its use of pre-existing material. The score features elements from a previous Greenwood composition and works from Arvo Pärt and Johannes Brahms.

Eli Sunday: I am a false prophet! God is a superstition! I am a false prophet! God is a superstition! I am a false prophet! God is a superstition!

There are an array unconventional sonic textures and uniquely angular melodies which shape this score. The soundtrack to There Will Be Blood will appeal to serious movie-music fans, who will appreciate this rare find: an intelligent, beautiful and deeply cinematic orchestrated score. The moment I realised this soundtrack is a masterpiece is where they first strike oil and the action is accompanied by a huge, incredible percussive sound – look (and listen) out for it next time you see the film. It’s not often it can be claimed of a film, but it would simply not be so great were it not for Greenwood’s music. He deepens the image, gives character to the shot and establishes feeling. Dialogue is sparse in this cinematic epic which lasts well over two and a half hours. And thoroughly cinematic it is – it shows, it doesn’t talk it’s audience towards a conclusion and thus with it’s music inexorably bound in its telling, by showing gives us meaning and feeling.

Plainview: Do you? I drink your water, Eli. I drink it up. Everyday. I drink the blood of lamb from Bandy's tract.

Greenwood engulfs us in the world of the gothic and takes us across a fascinating, ethereal place where nothing is certain with one exception: that doom is fast approaching for everyone within the film. No one stands a chance against the ravenous nature of greed and exploitation. You might be unprepared for the outbursts of melodic darkness contained in both the film and score combined, but the result is that the film’s theme will last in your conscience long after the final credits roll. Nonesuch Records offers a digital download of three bonus tracks upon the purchase of the soundtrack from its web site – highly recommended, get a preview with the title track we’ve put up for you here.

Download the title track

Listen and Buy at Nonesuch Records

There Will Be Blood on IMDB

Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood on Discogs

Bill Drummond – A History Of Music: Part 19, 4 of 4

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Here is the fourth and final part of a transcripted lecture Bill Drummond gave on the state of music to BBC Radio 3. You can find parts 1, 2 and 3 here.

The relationship that a listener might have with any piece of recorded music was always the same, be it a middle aged connoisseur listening to Herbert Von Carugen’s recording of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. Or a 13 year old girl in 1996 listening to the first Spice Girls album. We built and bought shelves to keep our collections of vinyl and CDs on. We took pride on what these growing collections that we had, invested our money in what it said about us, in the same way that the content of bookshelves did. There was no reason that this should ever stop. By the time the new century was dawning the iPod was being launched along with iTunes and numerous file sharing sites. This changed everything. This was the biggest development in the history of music in the past 100 years. We could now download from the internet with a few clicks from the mouse any piece of music from the entire history of recorded music we thought we might want and plenty more we didn’t want. All of this could be stored on the iPod in our pocket to be listened to whenever, wherever while doing almost whatever. The album as a format was now meaningless.

A graphical representation of a bit-torrent swarm

A graphical representation of a bit-torrent swarm

This thing that we had used to measure and judge the music makers of the last five decades no longer had any real purpose, other than historical. The music that we owned no long said anything about us as we could now own everything without investment from ourselves. The groaning shelves of vinyl and CDs were redundant. Music was just something that made the bus ride to work or the jog round the park more bearable. Something used to fill in the uncomfortable silences or block out the racket of real life. The breadth and depth of meanings that music once contained was fast draining from it. Art, like religion exists to give life meaning. When any art form loses its meaning it no long has any real worth. No long has a function other than something to gather dust in the museum. There are those that have thought of the iPod as little more than the modern equivalent to the wireless set. They are wrong. The wireless unwittingly promoted the sales of records. The iPod does away with ever having to buy music again.
A museum piece

A museum piece

There is another facet to my argument. Recording technology has so evolved that any kid doing a GCSE in music can record an album and stick it up on their Myspace for the whole world to listen to. The holy grail of the recording contract and all the validation that comes with it is a thing of the past. Every busker in every street has a CD to sell you. The democratisation that some so longed for has undone the whole thing. The business model that has sustained a world wide record industry is imploding faster than the cultural commentators can write their blog on the phenomenon. All of this is great news for the forward thinking music makers working in the next few years.

The flip side of all I have just gone on about in the last few minutes means music is now in the process of being liberated from the shackles of the recorded music genre. These forward thinking music makers will not want to make music that can be downloaded off the internet or listened to at any time, any place, while doing almost any thing on a future version of the iPod. They will want to make music that is about time, place and occasion. They will want their music to reach parts of the soul that words and images have always failed to do. Nothing can commune the unknowable like music. But most importantly they will want their music to have meaning beyond sometime to fill in the background while people get on with the drudgery of life.

KLF – Official Website

BBC – Radio 3

The Thick Of It

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Audacity of ****

Audacity of ****

The third series of comedy series “The Thick Of It” is coming to a close this weekend. It is a satire on the inner workings of modern British government written by Armando Ianucci. Life is presented as a chaotic improvisation in which hapless and cynical politicians try to hold on to their jobs and sanity and keep one step ahead of bad headlines which will bring the wrath of spin-doctor-in-chief, Malcolm Tucker. Highlighting the struggles between the media, spin doctors and civil servants, the character of Malcolm Tucker bears a distinct resemblance to former Director of Communications and Strategy Alastair Campbell, a comparison Campbell himself has acknowledged. The program is shot with hand-held cameras to give it a sense of vérité or fly on the wall documentary. This style is further enhanced by the absence of incidental music or laughter track.

Of all the characters, Malcolm Tucker is the fan favourite. He is aggressive, profane and feared in his role as chief spin doctor or Director of Communications for the Government. He uses smears and threats of violence to achieve his ends of ensuring cabinet ministers follow the party line and crisis management PR. His methods can be described by this quote: “I think we should use the carrot and stick approach, yeah. You take a carrot, you stick it up his fucking arse, followed by the stick … followed by an even bigger, rougher carrot.” On the whole the series lacks sympathy, good guys, let alone honest ambitions – this is perhaps why its appears so realistic to real politics. Where The West Wing is liberal and sentimental The Thick Of It is cynical and degrading to its politicians – mocking their hypocrisies and inanities.

It appears that life is imitating art recently, with the film spin-off In The Loop seemingly predicting some of the outcomes regarding the lead up to the war in Iraq now coming out in the Iraq war enquiry. The way in which the war of aggression was planned, or rather a lack of planning and understanding at the highest level. A war of aggression that has led to catastrophic loss of civilian life, and will continue to do so for as long as anyone can predict.

Top Ten Malcom Tucker Sweary Quotes (Warning – Strong Language):

• Responding to knock at his door: “Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off.”
• Tucker’s Law (out-take from the Spinners & Losers special): “If some cunt can fuck something up, that cunt will pick the worst possible time to fucking fuck it up cause that cunt’s a cunt.”
• Moaning about minister on the phone: “He’s about as much use as a marzipan dildo.”
• To a pair of rival advisors: “Laurel and fucking Hardy! Glad you could join us. Did you manage to get that piano up the stairs OK?”
• Dressing down MP, Geoff Holhurst: “You’re so back-bench, you’ve actually fucking fallen off. You’re out by the fucking bins where I put you.”
• Commenting on Ben Swain’s disastrous Newsnight appearance: “All these hands all over the place! You were like a sweaty octopus trying to unhook a bra.”
• Bollocking a communications department employee: “How much fucking shit is there on the menu and what fucking flavour is it?”
• Advising minister Hugh Abbot to keep up with the zeitgeist: “You’ve got 24 hours to sort out your policy on EastEnders, right? Or you’re for the halal butchers.”
• Note passed to assistant Jamie during meeting with blue-sky thinker Julius Nicholson: “Please could you take this note, ram it up his hairy inbox and pin it to his fucking prostate.”
• Admonishing junior adviser Ollie Reeder to respect government property: “Feet off the furniture you Oxbridge twat, you’re not on a punt now.”

The Thick Of It – BBC2

The Thick Of It – IMDB

In The Loop – IMDB

Bill Drummond – A History Of Music: Part 19, 1 of 4

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Here you will find a serialisation of a transcript of a talk which Bill Drummond of 80′s multimedia art project The KLF gave to BBC Radio 3 regarding the music industry. The KLF were a pop sensation throughout the 80′s and early 90′s, but unlike their contemporaries they were deliberately repetitive and derivative in an effort to highlight the ridiculousness of pop music at the time. The talk will be serialised in 4 parts as the whole lot at once would probably be a bit much. The idea of recorded music as “product” is, he thinks, an outdated concept unique to the 20th century that spawned it. The rapid collapse in value of recorded music is, he thinks, A Good Thing. In the future, music can once again become connected with time, place and occasion. And of course with musicians. We give you, A History Of Music: Part 19…

That’s the title of this talk. What parts 1, 2, 3, 7, 11 ,13 or 17 were, or are, is almost irrelevant to this talk. That said, I want to start by reading something which I wrote almost a year ago and is taken from the history of music part 17, this is it: All recorded music that has ever meant anything to you or me or anybody else is speeding its way towards irrelevance. The whole cannon of recorded music that has been stockpiled over the past one-hundred and ten years is going rotten. Rapidly losing any meaning for anybody except historians and those that want to exploit our weakness for nostalgia. The very urge to make recorded music is a redundant and creative dead end, not even an interesting option fit only for the makers of advertising, ring tones and motion picture soundtracks. The sheer ubiquity and availability of recorded music will inspire forward looking music makers to explore different ways of creating music – away from ways which can be captured on a CD, downloaded from the internet and consumed on an MP3 player. The very making of recording music will seem an entirely two-dimensional, 20th century aspiration, for the creative music makers of the next few decades. They will want to make music that celebrates time, place, occasion. They may be those that want to keep the craft of recorded music alive, but we will look upon them as those who work with bygone art-forms – irrelevant in tomorrow’s world.

The kids today have a different perspective

The kids today have a different perspective

I can’t wait to hear the music that is being made in 100 years from now, these notions keep me awake at night. There is no way that I want to hazard a guess what the music in 10 years time or even 100 years will sound like and mean to us. We will have to wait and hear. Instead I’m going to give a brief skim through the salient turning points as music has evolved over the past 131 years. You might think it a highly subjective skim through. I accept that your parallel history of music might be totally different to mine.

In 1876 to hear music, you had to play an instrument or sing yourself. If not you could listen to other people playing or singing. All music that was written or performed was conceived to be listened to in a specific context. This could be religious songs to fit the religious calender. Or ones marked to celebrate the major milestones in life – birth, marriage, death. Or songs sung in the workplace to make the workload seem lighter and the hours speed by. Or regal music to crown a new monarch. Or marshal music to stir our sense of nationalism in times of war. This can literally be music to march into battle with. Or just music to have a good old knees up on a Saturday night. Remove the context from any of these examples I have given and the music will lose its potency and meaning and become something else altogether.

On a surface level the music stays the same but our relationship changes, it is our relationship with music that defines what music is, not what the composer dreamed up or what the musicians thought they were playing. So that was in 1876 and everything that had gone before. In 1877, the American inventor Thomas Edison invented a device he named the phonograph. It was a wax cylinder and on it he recorded himself reciting Mary Had A Little Lamb. His recording was not musical, but that technological development would have more influence on music of the 20th century than anything else that happened in the 19th century, be it the music composed by Beethoven or the music sung by cotton pickers in the slave plantations of ol’ dixie.

Ten years later an American, another American, Emille Berliner took Edison’s idea and ran with it. In 1887 Berliner patented his Gramophone – that is Gramophone with a capital “G”. On this he could play flat circular record things, that he also invented. And on these flat circular records, Berliner was having music recorded, not just himself reciting nursery rhymes. By 1892 he was selling these records and his Gramophones to play them on. This was the moment when music could be contained within a physical object that could be bought and sold. Thus the record industry was born. A small aside that I would like to make here is that within a few months of the first record and Gramophone being sold, the musicians union was formed in Manchester.

To be continued…

KLF – Official Website

BBC – Radio 3

Wax cylinder preservation and digitisation project

Delia Derbyshire

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Dealing with Derbyshire

Dealing with Derbyshire

I was there in the blitz and it’s come to me, relatively recently, that my love for abstract sounds [came from] the air-raid sirens: that’s a sound you hear and you don’t know the source of as a young child… then the sound of the “all clear” – that was electronic music. – Delia Derbyshire

Regarded by many as the mother of electronic music, Delia Derbyshire was a sculptor of sounds. The electronic music pioneer graduated from university with a degree in mathematics and music. On approaching Decca Records in 1959 she was informed that the company did not employ women in their recording studios. In 1960 Delia joined the BBC as a trainee studio manager and then requested to be attached to the newly created Radiophonic Workshop (whose most familiar contribution to the world is the Dr. Who theme tune) where she influenced many of her trainee colleagues. The idea was to have a department providing, at low cost, theme and incidental music plus sound effects for radio & TV series. Today some of this stuff sounds quaint and dated but Delia’s work stands out thanks to her ultimate resource – a limitless imagination. Delia combined her interests in the theory and perception of sound, modes, tunings and the communication of moods purely through electronic sources.

Deal or no Dealia?

Deal or no Delia?

The Radiophonic department was initially always run by someone with a drama background. Derbyshire was the first person there of a higher musical qualification. However, much of her early work remained anonymous under the credit of “special sound by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop”. Delia was called upon to create music for any area where an orchestral composition would be out of place – the distant past, an unseen future or deep in the human psyche. Desmond Briscoe, founder of the department notes: “Workshop was then a very popular word among theatre ‘types’, and it gave away the Drama Department origins. It was originally going to be called the Electrophonic Workshop, but it was discovered that ‘electrophonic’ referred to some sort of defect of the brain, so it had to be changed! A board was set up to see that the place was run properly. Unfortunately, one board member had a doctor friend, who advised that three months should be the maximum length of time that anyone could work there, as staying any longer could be injurious to their health; like they’d go mad, or something.”

Recently an archive of 267 tapes has come to light including an experimental “dance track” which Derbyshire prefaces with: “Forget about this, it’s for interest only.” Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll says it is “quite amazing … That could be coming out next week on Warp Records … It’s incredible when you think when it comes from [the 1960s]. Timeless, really. It could be now as much as then.” She created her music before the invention of synthesisers using oscillators, signal genterators and loops, literally cutting, pasting and reversing segments of magnetic tape.

Delia fell out of love with the BBC in the mid 70s when her productions were being declared too lascivious and lustful for childrens television. She began to experiment in London’s psychedlic underground scene forming a band with founder of synth manufacturer EMS, Peter Zinovieff. Some of their gigs sound like crackers, how about the two-day “Million Volt Light and Sound Rave” at the Roundhouse? The association with Peter Zinovieff had already led to the BBC buying three VCS3s, and in 1970 the Workshop took delivery of an EMS Synthi 100 modular system. It was the biggest voltage-controlled synthesizer in the world Christened ‘The Delaware’, after the road outside the studios, it had 16 oscillators and even incorporated its own oscilloscope and frequency counter. As with the VCS3, there were no messy patch cords: instead were provided two 60×60-way ‘pin patch boards’. There was a digital sequencer too, which could store up to 256 events. The massive control surface presented a sea of knobs to twiddle, but one of them, labelled ‘Option 4′ was actually a dummy. Not connected to anything at all, it was occasionally tweaked to appease awkward producers who wanted to get ‘just the right sound’.

Her works from the 60s and 70s continue to be used on radio and TV 30 years after their creation. She has legendary cult status amongst electronic music fans in Sweden and Japan. Derbyshire is regularly cited, credited and covered by acts such as Aphex Twin and The Chemical Brothers. Its believed her infectious enthusiasm for experimental sound has transferred to others during meetings with Paul McCartney, George Martin, Pink Floyd and Brian Jones.

A complete list of her works has yet to be compiled, but amongst other things she has mentioned involvement in the earliest electronic music events in England – proto-raves perhaps? Before Delia, electronic music had a reputation for sounding ‘ugly’; she proved that it could also be extremely beautiful.

What we are doing now is not important for itself, but one day someone might be interested enough to carry things forwards and create something wonderful on these foundations. – Delia Derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire – Official Website

BBC Article on Delia Derbyshire

The Story Of The Radiophonic Workshop