All that jazz
The work of musician Basil Kirchin is being celebrated as part of Hull City of Culture next weekend. Duncan Seaman reports.
Basil Kirchin may not be among Yorkshire and the Humber’s most celebrated musicians but his work over a 60-year period can certainly be described as among the most visionary to have ever emerged from this region.
A drummer in his father Ivor’s jazz band, he went on work with future Beatles producer Sir George Martin, create film soundtracks – most notably the 70s British horror film The Abominable Dr Phibes – and experiment with industrial, orchestral, psychedelic, ambient and found sounds.
He died in 2005 aged 77 but next weekend Hull City of Culture 2017 is due to celebrate his work and influence with a weekend of concerts under the banner Mind on the Run: The Basil Kirchin Story.
Among the musicians taking part are Sean O’Hagan of The High Llamas, saxophonist Evan Parker, improvisational duo Spring
Heel Jack and Jerry Dammers, founder of The Specials. The closing concert at Hull City Hall, Mutations of Musical Modernism, is being curated by Will Gregory of the band Goldfrapp, with contributions from Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, Björk collaborator Matthew Herbert, Sonic Youth’s Jim O’Rouke and pianist Matthew Bourne as well as the BBC Concert Orchestra. It’s being recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Here and Now.
Gregory may be a relative newcomer to Kirchin’s work but having immersed himself in his recordings he says: “I’ve come to really love it.” He adds: “It’s funny because you speak to various people and half of them say ‘I’ve never heard of him’ and half of them go ‘I know all about him’. It’s like ‘How have I missed out on this all this time?’ but it seems to be quite common that people haven’t heard of him.”
Gregory, 57, who studied music at the University of York, recognises in Kirchin a fellow sonic explorer. “He’s definitely part of a movement that came up through the 50s and 60s to do
It seems to be quite common
that people haven’t heard