The work of Gavin Bryars is seminal… and all that top quality bollocks. The Sinking of the Titanic is considered one of the pieces of experimental music from the 20th century. Notwithstanding the fact on the other side of the recording is the guaranteed sob-starter “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”.


Gavin Bryars, top lad
Gavin Bryars and the 50th anniversary of the SInking of the Titanic

This is your chance to go and see this thing by the man himself.

The concert marks the 50th anniversary of The Sinking of the Titanic. Composed, performed in the Sixties and recorded and released in the 70s on Eno’s Obscure label. This is some p r i m o l i n e a g e. It sits in the catalogue next to Discreet Music where Frippertronics was born, works by John Cage, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Robert Wyatt gets a mention too.

I’m not saying go see a bit of history yickety yack and that’s all there is to it. Bryars work is still alive – as he is, he looks ageless. Benefits of balding.

This version of TSotT is performed with Philip Jeck, a turntablist – no, it isn’t that kind of turntablist rendition, extraordinary as that might be – as it goes with Jeck, the version has a creeping grace. Starting with the classic experimental classical test of ten minutes static. Just to wipe those brainpods clear. Evolving into the known score gradually.

Then you sink, there is confusion, this is the sound of submersion.

On the night there will be visual accompaniments provided by artists Bill Morrison and Laurie Olinder. I’m expecting big decay and geometry vibes from these two.

What was the last thing played by the band on the Titanic? One of two. The wireless signalman has it as Barthelemon’s Autumn hymn. And others have it as Nearer, My God, to Thee. Pick your fighters.

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