Fricatives, Sibilance and Sonorance; singing without words

Legend has it that it all started with Louis Armstrong in 1926. In the late 30’s the BBC banned its use on air, believing it lacked respectability. But in fact, scat singing had been around long before Louis Armstrong forgot the words. In the New Orlean’s jazz scene it was said, ‘if you can’t sing it- you can’t play…

The Spirited Music of Britain

Before you settle in to read this post, hit play on this track called The Hidden Door by Belbury Poly, otherwise known as Eric Zann, otherwise known as Jim Jupp. It won’t surprise you that Jupp’s alias Eric Zann is an homage to an HP Lovecraft and that Jupp’s various incarnations often reference “crows,church bells, magic spells and other horror…

Soundtrack: Mad Max

I watched Mad Max for the first time last week. I liked it. A lot. It has that same callow honesty as many other Australian films made around the time of the great film-grant plunder of the mid-late seventies. Everything from the story telling to the setting, the sound, the dialogue and that inimitable Australian perspective give films of this era a…

Lalo Schifrin, nightly news and vampires

Lalo Schifrin was not a name I grew up knowing. In fact it’s only recently that I started paying attention when I heard this name, and ever since, I’ve noticed that unusual name cropping up in the most unusual places. Cool Hand Luke is undoubtedly one of Paul Newman’s best films and I love it,…

Misirlou

I heard it most recently in an old episode of M*A*S*H, the gang were dancing around to it in one of the tents, at the time of the Korean war it would have been a hit song. I’ve heard it on Mad Men, when Don Draper finds himself in L.A and the object of a…

Upstream and mainstream

Music that stands on the frontiers of our culture doesn’t often get heard by most people. Whether it’s the product of government funding, arts programmes or the whim of imagination, if music is challenging, it generally gets ignored by the public. In one of the questions we have on the 15Q interview, we ask the…