A new radio station, Source FM 96.1, was recently launched for Falmouth and Penryn and on Wednesdays at 7pm you can tune into a Orpheus’ Baubles, a new hour long show run by Tom and Simon that features a local musician each week. Last Wednesday, 25 March, I was asked to be their ‘focused’ artist.

For the show I was asked to choose two of my own songs for them to play as well as four pieces of music that have been a source of inspiration in some way. Tom and Simon then also selected four songs each that they feel hold some affinity to my songs. They made some great choices, such as ‘Sing of Bliss’ by The Khalsa String Band, ‘Afraid’ by Nico and ‘Credit in The Straight World’ by The Young Marble Giants. Narrowing down to four songs that have touched me was quite a challenge but this was my selection…

Sybille Baier – ‘Softly’ 1970-73
Keith Jarrett – ‘The Koln Concert’ – 1975
Armando Trovaioli – ‘Incontro Informale’ 1968
Serge Gainsbourg – ‘Ballade de Melody Nelson’ 1971

Sybille Baier’s beautiful one-off album, Colour Green is an intensely intimate collection of folk songs charting the break up of a love affair and written after a road trip across the alps with a friend. The album was recorded at home between 1970 and 1973 on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. What I love about this album is that you can almost hear her sitting at a kitchen table, a log fire burning and the fresh dark green alpine hills outside. This is very much down to the way she recorded herself so close up to the microphone in order to reveal her fragile feelings and It is recordings like this that inspire to record my own music.

Keith Jarrett is an artist I discovered when I was 16 and started studying jazz piano. My teacher taught me no piano for the first year and just played me records which was annoying at the time but the plus side was a slow and intense discovery of many incredible jazz musicians, a highlight of which was The Koln Concert, a solo live improvisation from 1975. His lengthy solo improvisational explorations meander effortlessly through classical, jazz, blues and gospel, and he poignantly intersperses the darker classical phrases with light sparks of jazz, making the fall back to the minor keys all the more painful and powerful. The Koln Concert in particular is a piece of music that turns my stomach inside out. I use keys in most of my songs, sometimes piano, occasionally a Rhodes, or an organ, and Keith Jarrett’s mastery of bitter sweetness is a constant influence in the shape of these compositions.

I chose Serge Gainsbourg because as a child my parents played mainly Polish Folk Music, Elgar’s Enigma Variations and a host of French chansonnieurs including amongst others Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Fontaine, Francoise Hardy and Boris Vian. The French artists still inspire me and I think its because the French have an art of combining existentialism and humour in the same beat with a result of giving their songs a unique unconventional flavour, that always makes me want to go and write something new and curious, and often playful.

My final choice was a song by Armando Trovaioli written for the film Incontro Informale made in 1968. I have recently been listening to lots of 1960s Italian psychedelic soundtracks, including Ennio Morricone and Stelvio Cipriani. I love the freeness in the psychedelic surreal feeling typical of soundtracks to many of these trashy movies. And its more than lounge, more ‘knowing’ than lounge music which doesnt really stir me at all. The female vocals in this particular song ooze eccentricity and knowingness.
Anyway I hope you enjoy the show….

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