Basil Kirchin


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British composer Basil Kirchin (a former jazz drummer) was one of the first musicians to conceive the tape recorder as an instrument. After the unreleased Abstractions of the Industrial North (1966), a series of vignettes scored for a small chamber ensemble featuring Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, Kirchin conceived the two suites of Worlds Within Worlds (1971) as a blend of instrumental and natural sounds: a jazz sextet (Evan Parker's soprano saxophone, bassoon, marimba, organ, cello and bass) "interacted" with animal cries, birdsong and even insect sounds thanks to a painstaking work of tape collage. Two new suites also titled Worlds Within Worlds (1974) were assembled by merging a septet (a horn quartet, cello, bass and organ) with sounds of gorillas hornbills and flamingos.

In between he had produced the two unreleased suites of Quantum (1973) for a jazz quartet (Evan Parker on sax, Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn, Darryl Runswick on bass, Graham Lyons on basson) and strings interacting with field recordings and with the voices of autistic children.

Charcoal Sketches/ States Of Mind (Trunk, 2004) collects rarities.

Kirchin died from cancer in 2005 at the age of 77.

His last work, Particles (released in 2007) contained the six-movement Concept Suite, a brainy exercise in atonal jazz scored (in a John Cage-esque aleatory manner) for viola, flute, trumpet, euphonium, cello, bass clarinet, and baritone saxophone.

Abstractions Of The Industrial North, The Freelance (from 1971), and Primitive London (soundtracks including the 1965 title-track) were released posthumous.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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