Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Gavin Bryars ‎– "The Sinking Of The Titanic" (Obscure ‎– obscure no.1) 1975


On the last post i suggested that you should play this simultaneously with Phill Niblocks 'A Third Trombone'...but to save you the bother i've mixed them together HERE for you.....don't say I never do anything for you!
Well the album is a classic of modern minimalist composition,on Eno's faultless Obscure label from 1975. I suppose this gets dumped in with the Ambient lot because of the Eno connection,which is not entirely unfair,but it does move minimalism away from the in-crowd of the manhatten avant-garde and introduce late 20th century neo-classical composition to the pop audience,thanks to  Brian Eno's ability to straddle both.......how's that for sentence construction?
The second side is probably more well known than the 'Titanic' side, mainly because of that re-recording Gavin did with Jesus Blood' fan Tom Waits, who insisted on singing along with the tape loop of the now long dead Tramp,and subsequently ruining it.
This is the definitive recording, featuring Michael Nyman and the late great Derek Bailey!
The loop for "Jesus' Blood" was copied in the music department of Leicester Polytechnic (now called after 13th century Jew-Hater Simon De Montfort,who banned jews from Leicester for eternity before he got killed in France and had his severed genetils stuffed into his big mouth,so naturally they called it De Montfort University!!!???);just across the road,in 1975, was an 11 year old Zchivago at Gateway Grammer school,most likely in the Metal Sculpture dept,where i learned how to make the products from which i still make a meagre living(no I don't sell meagres!).
Allegedly Bryars left the room to get a coffee while the tape loop of the singing tramp was being copied.On his return he found the students in the room subdued and some were even quietly weeping in the corner.This was the moment he thought that he might be onto something!.....in fact both of these tunes have the ability to turn even the uppest of persons into a well of melancholy within twnty five minutes of either side.
The "Titanic" side is the greatest recreation of a sinking ship,and or, Tragedy, that has ever been created in the medium of music.It involves a repeated section from the last tune the band on the Titanic allegedly played,"Nearer my lord to thee".Played at a snails pace above the droning strings of the double bass,it slowly disappears into the murky strings of the 'Cockpit Ensemble' as this tragic vessel slips beneath the waves and fades away with the music..all interspersed with dialogue samples from Titanic survivours......Hmmmm didn't Steve Reich do that over a decade later for "Different Trains"?
Plagarism aside,I'm fighting back the tears here!.....I can't go on.....boo-hoo-hooooo.


Tracklist:

A The Sinking Of The Titanic (24:26)

B Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (25:57)


14 comments:

FivesGunsWest said...

The mix is a kick! Awesome

rev.b said...

I know you're something of a cultural butterfly, but if you got all stodgy and felt compelled the post the entire 10 lp Obscure discography, it wouldn't upset me one bit. Whether or not, a good choice this, much appreciated.

Gabriel de Banyuls said...

thank you for your selection since mid-january

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I've got the Tom Waits' version but this is the motherlode because it has The Blessed Derek on it! My long search is over, Milly's Grandad.

Anonymous said...

rev.b, the Obscure discography is avbailable at UbuWeb http://www.ubuweb.com/sound/obscure.html, admittedly without Die or D.I.Y's insightful commentary.

northfieldhat said...

Drinking and Hooting Machine from Machine Music is one of my favorites to fall asleep to. Never make it to the end.

Jonny Zchivago said...

Ubuweb yes, no insightful commentary too true, but crucially, not in 320k mp3.

rev.b said...

@anon, thanks, I know. I've snagged them, and a lot of other material as well. As far as I know it's the best avant gettho online. Agreed, it's all about the commentary, isn't it?

Chris Sessions said...

Half the time I'm here just to read Jonny, even if I don't even don't get around to hearing the music. The man's a wizard with words!

Anonymous said...

While this is good, the later recording of it that Crepuscule put out in 1990 is really the superior version overall.

rev.b said...

@aonon, I disagree.

chrisbusker said...

The Niblock/Bryars mash up is gorgeous!

Jonny Zchivago said...

@chrisbusker..Yeah, like twins separated at birth reunited.

kevinesse said...

tom waits ruins everything