radioorchestrar (radioorchestrar) wrote,

Big Up Dorset

Plinth at Whitechapel

I went last night to the Whitechapel Art Gallery to see plinth in concert with James Blackshaw. Actually, I didn't stay for the second half as I started coming down with a cold and thought it best to head home and crunch codeine pills with slugs of whisky, lemon and honey. I'm relatively fever-free at the moment although the Jehovah's Witnesses kept me on the doorstep for five minutes this morning as they sought to engage me in a discussion on "Money and Morals: Can You Have Both?" I'm tempted to nail a mezzuzah to the side of the door, common enough in this area, but I'm not sure that would stop them. Had I been feeling a little stronger I would have just started shrieking "Heresy! Anathema!" and so on...

The performance of Victorian Machine Music started with the promising announcement "I just need to reboot the laptop...". Ach! I did feel for him at this point! Nevertheless, once the engine had been resuscitated, and the back projection of FW Murnau's Faust recommenced (I'll probably saunter down to the video shop to hire that later as I want to know how it all ends...), it went without a hitch. Plinth wove together a series of samples of various music boxes, parlour instruments and ambient recordings with occasional live accompaniment of glockenspiel and (?) melodica. Given my descent into illness, I began to imagine I was a sickly Victorian child listening to the sounds of the nursery in a lightly feverish state. It reminded me of a curious shop I'd once found in a Sapporo hotel, which was called The Crystal Kingdom or something, and had hundreds of music boxes and porcelain dolls in its pristine white environment. I also found myself (and this could be a bad thing or a good thing in Plinth's mind) reminded of Virginia Astley, whose From Gardens Where We Feel Secure was a favourite of mine when it came out. All those moons ago.

Was this the fabled "Dorset Sound"? Plinth had mentioned earlier that the collective of musicians assembled under the Dorset Paeans monicker had been mentioned in some Japanese press as being the leaders of this "Dorset Sound" movement and how the said "Dorset Sound" was going to be the next thing and, just possibly I thought, he might wake one day to see the town filled with hipsters anxious to see where it was all happening. Provided we all loudly utter the words "Dorset Sound" in record shops, at concerts, on buses and so on, it will happen. Before you know it, people will be saying they're very influenced by this "Dorset Sound" even if they've never even heard a note of it. I'll do my best although I'm not sure they want to be the next Arctic Monkeys.

There would seem to have been some success already. There's a comment from this thread on the Teenage Fanclub forum in May 2004: "are you hip to the dorset sound brought to us by directorsound and plinth? i hear it's all kicking off down there." Although a later comment reads: "Neither heard of either of those bands though, maybe they're just from outside Bournemouth. Where nothing is kicking off, I assure you." To which is the reply "their label is called dorset paeans. and i'm sure it is IS kicking off. it's like anything good, you've got to seek it out. start by asking in the local libraries and stuff, maybe there's a shy girl who knows. don't be obvious, take a detour, don't fly too high, you'll miss it." Librarians be warned...

There's this mention down the page from Geographic in 2004, who I suspect are the guilty party. Other than that, the Dorset Sound domain is currently owned by an audio firm in Manassas who seem to specialise in churches and synagogues. It looks like there might have once been a trance label called Dorset Sound Labs and there's some sort of embroidery connection as well. I hope I've now mentioned the phrase "Dorset Sound" a sufficient number of times.

I've been doing my small part to spread The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table meme. Or rather, there's now a page at Myspace. I really don't like Myspace! I'm happy here. The only thing I do like about it is that it will start playing your music when you open the page. You don't hear nada when you open this journal. But just about everybody I know musically in London and elsewhere is on it as are any number of people I know on a vague nodding "how's it going" way at gigs, pubs and the like. Since these people are there (and not here), it's one possible way of trying to get a few more people interested and let them know about gigs and similar. I might post the occasional unreleased track there (there's an early sketch for an orchestral segment of Disco 1,000 at the moment), but what exactly do I do there? I felt much the same about Friendster and the like and that wasn't owned by Rupert Murdoch to my knowledge. Anyway, I've crumpled under peer pressure. Feel free to add me if you are there.

My concert on Wednesday went reasonably well. It's the first time that I've played using my own mics on the instruments rather than the pickup as I think the sound is better, but it's trickier to set up as you have to do your own sound there. There was no laptop to stall, but the bridge on the banjo buckled under pressure and I was reduced to three strings mid-song. I did get people to shut up though, which always feels like an achievement! I was joined for one song by Rusell, whose album I'm currently producing. We're about three songs in and I'll start posting those once he's happy with what I've done to them.

And so back to bed...
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