New mu­sic brought to life in old build­ings

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

pieces, and the sound of the build­ings them­selves were some­times in­cor­po­rated into the com­po­si­tions.

“I had my pick of all the weird­est Na­tional Trust prop­er­ties,” says Price. “It isn’t that I didn’t want to write in stately homes, it’s that I ac­tively wanted to write in strange spa­ces. The writ­ing comes from phys­i­cally in­ter­act­ing with the space and ac­ti­vat­ing mem­o­ries.

“It’s like when you go on hol­i­day, and you go on Right­move and imag­ine an al­ter­na­tive fu­ture for your­self. What would life look like? So for Goldfin­ger’s house, I’d think about what it would be like if I lived here...Where would I make mu­sic and what would it sound like? Would it be loud and rau­cous, or would it be more heal­ing?”

This his­tory of the build­ings and their oc­cu­pants was im­por­tant to the mu­sic. “Goldfin­ger was a Jewish im­mi­grant from Hun­gary who built con­tro­ver­sial build­ings like Trel­lick Tower, but this was a fam­ily home, so all the light switches are at kids’ height. It doesn’t take much to cre­ate the story.”

Record­ing in th­ese rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent spa­ces wasn’t easy. In Wil­low Road, Price chose a room with a nat­u­ral stage and curved fire­place as he says it felt “like be­ing in­side a vi­o­lin”. At the Tu­dor Speke Hall in Liver­pool, he recorded in a court­yard with 300-yearold trees. In the ru­ined Foun­tains Abbey in North York­shire, mu­si­cians played at dawn in a bat-filled un­der­croft, while at Quarry Bank in Cheshire, they recorded in the old mill build­ing, us­ing the sound of weav­ing ma­chines to add tex­ture. The hard­est space to work with was Fan Bay, a net­work of tun­nels be­neath the cliffs of Dover that was used as ac­com­mo­da­tion for the Royal Ar­tillery in the Sec­ond World War.

“It’s 50m down, no light, very damp. Af­ter a cou­ple of hours we all wanted to get out,” says Price. “At Fan Bay you feel phys­i­cally un­der threat. You can hear it in the singer’s voice, the mois­ture get­ting to him. I imag­ined what it would be like if

by Michael Price is out on Fri­day; he is play­ing at King’s Place, Lon­don, on Sept 6

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