Friday, March 11, 2016

Sunshine techno

Very interesting reading / hearing of Orbital's "Chime" in terms of its Britishness, from The Compleat Blogger

"The [sunny day elation] Paul Hartnoll was in while jamming ‘Chime’ is a scene which crops up repeatedly in British (or more specifically, English) art through the ages: a summer day drawing in, a particular interpretation of the pastoral mode which in music, drove Vaughan Williams and Delius at the beginning of the 20th century. It seems as if the unpredictable weather inherent to the UK ensures that such moments stick long in the memory and capture a large portion of our collective consciousness....

"'Chime’ kicks off with an insistent one-note ostinato which is so bright, it just feels solar. Very precise synthesised string hits are layered with delay which give it a lingering effect like the sun’s rays over the horizon, and it anchors the song like a pulse. The bass line palpitates with a bravery which marks Orbital out from their peers: the second bar of the bass pattern has brief entrances into higher notes, but tinged with pathos when it comes back down, recognising the inevitability of a sober end. The song is in the key of E Flat Major, which makes it suited to the big-arena-hands-in-the-air mode; a key Beethoven, Holst, and Richard Strauss knew was well suited to heroics when they employed it in the Eroica symphony, the ‘Jupiter’ suite of The Planets, and the tone poem ‘A Hero’s Life’ respectively. Those are big, boisterous pieces of nationhood and ‘Chime’ wears its cultural heritage on its sleeve as well."

More nuts and bolts piece on the making of "Chime" at Sound on Sound.


Make me think of that thing about the British having to manufacture their own sunshine (UKG and 2step as prime example - "Spirit of the Sun" etc etc).

Living on the east side of Los Angeles as I do now, an extraordinarily high proportion of the days here are like perfect English early summer weather - warm, but dry... clear blue skied... just right...

But when that becomes normality -  unremarkable, commonplace -  literally every day ... it loses its impact... the exhilaration of good weather in the U.K. that comes from its rarity... the leap of the spirit... the buoyancy...

I do miss the punctuation of rain and grey....

There was some fog here the other day - got very excited as it is an extraordinarily uncommon occurrence here, meaning the desert-y side of LA. Whereas on the West Side, Santa Monica and so forth, on the edge of the Pacific - mist and grey haze skies are very common morning experiences, taking a good chunk of the day to disperse. I think so many Brits live there because it subconsciously reminds them of going on holiday as kids to U.K. coastal towns. Right down to the surprisingly chilly sea temperature - a bracing Broadstairs experience, taking a dip in Southern California, despite the palm trees.

1 comment:

Matt said...

The "insistent one-note ostinato" is also reminiscent of rain on a tin roof.

The sunshine is normally somewhere other for UK danceheads - a place of hedonism and pilgrimage (e.g. Ibiza, Ayia Napa).

And the crappy weather in the UK is probably conducive to people staying in doors and making / listening to tunes.

BTW the level of rainfall in my current location (Sydney) is 2-3 times that of London. But it doesn't come down in a whiny drizzle that lasts for hours. It's a torrential downpour. And then it's sunny again.