What connects the first rock’n’roll discs of 1950s Britain, Vincent Price, the Nagra tape recorder and the industrial sounds of the North? Basil Kirchin.
Hull UK City of Culture 2017 in partnership with Serious, BBC Radio 3, J-Night, Nova Studios and the University of Hull, School of Arts, is delighted to announce further details about Mind on the Run: The Basil Kirchin Story, a celebration of the forgotten genius of post-war British music, which takes place at Hull City Hall from 17 until 19 February 2017.
Originally a drummer inspired by jazz and mambo, Basil Kirchin’s remarkable life stretched from the days when British dance music mutated into rock’n’roll, through film scores and pop songwriting, before he retreated to Hull, where he created sonic landscapes that still challenge convention, while living an increasingly reclusive existence until his death in 2005.
Probably unfamiliar to many, Kirchin worked with the likes of Mick Ronson and Jimmy Page and his music can be heard in films like Catch Us If You Can and The Abominable Dr Phibes. The composer was also a pioneer of musique concrète, who Brian Eno called “a founding father of ambient”.
Basil Kirchin’s legacy offers a collision of popular and experimental musical cultures that continue to inspire musicians today. One of the musical highlights of Hull 2017, the Mind on the Run weekender and subsequent events throughout the year are an opportunity for music lovers to immerse themselves in Kirchin’s intriguing life, work, his links to Hull and some fine music created and performed by some of today’s musical innovators.
Hidden Orchestra will headline the Saturday 18 February evening concert, Journey to the Unknown alongside saxophone maestro and Kirchin collaborator Evan Parker with a specially assembled band, including cult electronica duo Spring Heel Jack. Hidden Orchestra – ‘the imaginary orchestra that doesn’t really exist…’ is a musical collective created by composer/producer Joe Acheson and are soon to make a major appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in December 2016.
On Sunday 19 February Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, in association with BBC Radio 3, will curate Musical Modernism, a programme that responds and reacts to Kirchin’s fascination with texture and sonic collage. Performing alongside members of the BBC Concert Orchestra, this genre-defying event will include specially commissioned new music from Sonic Youth’s Jim O’Rourke, St. Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs will also create a new music and visuals piece Abstractions of Holderness. Internationally renowned Leeds based pianist and sound explorer Matthew Bourne will open the concert, which will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now.
Basil Kirchin is without doubt an overlooked genius of British music and Mind on the Run is a fantastic opportunity to discover his work.
Hull based DJ and producer Steve Cobby, of Fila Brasillia fame, will curate an afternoon of mixes and remixes drawn from the Kirchin back catalogue of reel-to-reel tapes on Saturday 18 February. During Worlds within Worlds, live musicians will respond, in real time, to the sounds from the reel-to-reel tapes that form part of Kirchin’s lasting legacy. An electro-acoustic interlude will be provided by respected musician, author and former Flying Lizard David Toop.
Hull’s very own Liam van Rijn, DJ and electronica artist also known as Revenu and currently part of Gilles Peterson’s Future Bubblers programme, will open Sean O’Hagan’s We Start Counting on Friday night singer-songwriter Jane Weaver has been added to O’Hagan’s band which also includes some of his High Llamas band members.
Other previously announced acts include improvising keyboard specialist Alexander Hawkins and founder of The Specials, Jerry Dammers.
Other plans for Hull 2017 include Favourite Sounds of Hull, curated by sonic artist, Peter Cusack – an interactive project complementary to Kirchin’s vision that invites the public to suggest the sounds that personally define Hull for them. Already underway, it will build into a living sonic document that will create a legacy for the city.
GoGo Penguin, the acclaimed jazz meets electronica Manchester three-piece are creating a new work inspired by Kirchin’s landmark recording Abstractions of the Industrial North. This PRSF New Music Biennial Commission will be performed in mid-2017.
Newly created visual materials from Nova Studios will animate the live event at the City Hall and illuminate facets of Kirchin’s intriguing life, with a planned hour-long film documentary to appear later in 2017.
Martin Green, Director and CEO of Hull 2017, commented: “Hull 2017 and particularly the first season Made in Hull are an opportunity to celebrate the talent and creativity that have come out of this city of culture. Basil Kirchin is without doubt an overlooked genius of British music and Mind on the Run is a fantastic opportunity to discover his music, which is increasingly influential. It’s also a chance to enjoy some great musicians and DJs in unique collaborations and performances that you are unlikely to hear elsewhere.”
John Cumming OBE, a Director of Serious added: “We are delighted to be working with Hull 2017 on ‘Mind on the Run: The Basil Kirchin Story’. The partnership with J-Night, Nova Studios, BBC Radio 3, the University of Hull and the City of Culture Team has been immensely stimulating, and the opportunity to celebrate the story of an extraordinary and quietly influential talent, whose creative life reflects so much of the changes in British culture since the 1950s, has been a fascinating voyage of discovery. As has the opportunity to assemble a cast of artists – old and new friends, and some extraordinarily talented young creators – all of them with an enthusiasm for the Kirchin legacy that’s both unbounded and inspirational.”
Tickets for Mind on the Run: The Basil Kirchin Story events are priced at £6-£18, with a weekend ticket also available.