Sometimes, it does the power of good to step outside of what you would normally listen to and immerse yourself in something a bit different. Even better, it’s when you look sideways and notice that there’s something already there that you’ve not previously paid attention to. For me, this is found in scores and soundtracks, not just from the usual film and televisual sources, but from videogames. Even back in its relative infancy, the gaming industry has created emotional musical content through increasingly advanced sound chips, and there are many gems from all manner of genres to be found in a medium still treated with some suspicion in many quarters as a mere pastime for kids. This particular gem is one of those times when you could play this to any one of these naysayers, and will absolutely blow their minds when it is pointed out that this is from one such game.
Following on from the revelations on and about the Soulsavers’ new Reconsidering the Madman album, the conversation with Rich Machin turns to more general matters regarding work previous and planned, with a bunch of questions that veer towards the eclectic and back again, as well as me just noticing as I was putting this bit together that I’d asked the same question twice. Moving swiftly on from that faux pas, I hope from a reader’s perspective that the questions that were asked and very kindly answered are among the very things that everyone wanted to know about what’s going on with the band and their various satellite vocalists…
Over the very varied course of their recorded history, the word Cinematic is one that has been applied constantly to the Soulsavers, and with good reason. Whether it’s the VHS pulp noir of their Tough Guys Don’t Dance debut, the Wim Wenders outsider Americana of their It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land follow-up or the full-blown epics of Broken and The Light The Dead See, the impression I always got from the collected musical output of Rich Machin and Ian Glover is of a soundtrack to a film that the rest of us aren’t privy to. So it’s perhaps a happy inevitability that the Stoke-On-Trent duo have cast their sights somewhat more specifically in this direction by applying for and receiving a grant from the PRS For Music Foundation in order to realise an ambition to put together an instrumental record to be pitched as a calling-card to the film industry. 6 Days From Tomorrow is thrilled that Rich took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about this project, film music in general, and what the future holds for the Soulsavers.
Back in 2010, I was in a bad way. Some days, I still am. Such is life. One day, I decided to try to do something about it by putting things in order and perspective in the only way I knew how to do without the presence of other people, by letting my record collection tell my own story through the way that I listened to other people’s music and how that coloured in my own experiences, whether mundane or catastrophic. Nobody was ever going to see it, I’d get all my ducks in a row once more and I’d probably go off and do something else in a few weeks anyway.
I don’t think I realised how much I’d enjoy it. Yeah, some of the reminiscence was horrible (and still is), I’ve probably exhausted all my major milestone things (except two, and with reason) and it didn’t really help much anyway to the point that I rarely do any soul-searching on here any more. But things are made to change, and I’m still here five years later with a subscription to renew. Hi.
To mark this occasion such as it is, I have decided to get drunk and mess about a bit, because if none of this is any fun, we may as well all bugger off right now. And what better way to have fun than to get angry about dumb listy articles about how you should collect, cherish, maintain and otherwise fetishise the way you enjoy listening to stuff…
This was a weird night indeed, and not just because I’m in Switzerland. I can’t remember quite how many Mark Lanegan shows I’ve been to, but it’s A Lot. Which seems kind of creepy, but there is method to all of this. It all kind of started in 2003(ish) when a bunch of us on his short-lived official message board decided to meet up and hang out, so visiting several shows to put names to sentences and posts, and I suppose it kind of stuck from then on.
Fast-forward a decade, and most of those friendships remain, more have been added and a couple have fallen by the wayside. And I’ve stopped posting with a girl’s name, something that seemed funny at the time and was a great way of being anonymous but an array of bewildering private messages soon put the mockers on that. Anyway, all of this preamble stems from a pre-gig decision to pare this all down as frankly it’s costing me a fortune. Nights such as this remind me what a privilege it is to do so.
I think it’s fair to say that February wasn’t a great month here. But never mind, it’s gone now and what started out as a rather mundane and unremarkable day somewhere in the middle of it was brightened up by an email received from a band whose debut EP I had in these pages a mere few years ago, offering me a listen of their brand new (and second) full album. Such an unintentional birthday present was gratefully received, yet it’s a measure of the craziness of the whole of the last four weeks that it was only last night I was sufficiently Not At Work enough to sit back and take it all in. And what a treat it turned out to be.
Back in the days where people weren’t too fussed about genre labels, when experimentalism regularly hit the high points of the charts and when nobody really gave much of a stuff how much records weighed, remixes reigned supreme. These were mostly shuffled off to the margins of b-sides and exclusive 12″ singles, but there was the occasional album of rejigged and reworked music for our pleasure. Remixing was all over the place, some remixers became more venerated than the people who employed them, and then it all seemed to tail off rather quickly, or at least vanish underground to a place where most people couldn’t find them, except for the very determined. The occasional gem bobbed up to the surface (the Soulsavers’ sublime take on Starsailors’ Four To The Floor being a prime example), but it all went quiet as some remixers went back to being DJs, others started making their own records from scratch, and others carried on messing about for diminishing audiences. This record is a celebration of decades of messing about with other peoples’ stuff.
Blimey. The post-Christmas slump went on for a bit longer than I thought it would this year, so here we are in the middle of February with the first mention of a record this year. Whatever passes for normal service will resume whenever, but at least I have much to be going on about until I catch up properly. All of this is of course an entirely opposite approach to the tireless and mysterious Servant Roberts, who announced this record late on a Wednesday evening, followed by despatching the same for it to arrive that very weekend. The world needs more of his like. And to put the tin hat on such speedy service, and in keeping with his paymasters’ previous musical jiggerypokery, this is not just one record but two…
Even before I get onto anything else, this was one of those occasions where a special round of applause should be reserved for those least mentioned of a touring company, the bus driver. How he got that thing there last night must have been little short of miraculous. After my fun, if slightly concerned drive there (I could be heard going “are you sure?” to my Satnav more than once as I was sure was deliberately leading me astray down roads where the provision of a single track would have been a blessed luxury), it was a curious delight to enter the tiny arena of Hebden Bridge’s Trades Club with the rest of a crowd of just shy of 200 people to catch a couple of highly memorable sets.
I consider myself very lucky to be the age that I am. Not now of course, as that’s awful. But the age I am allowed me to be the age that I was at the back end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s when there was so much wonderful chaos in the world of music, and I will always be amazed that it was all going on around me, going a huge defining the person I was then and hopefully laying down the groundwork for whatever I am now. It was a brilliant time when every weekend hanging out in record shops uncovered new treasures and new friends, and almost every night was filled with live shows and clubs where all manner of people gathered to share in this delight.
That’s how I remember it anyway, and I’m sure that it’s wholly incorrect. I don’t particularly care though, as this book helps to reassure me that it really was that much fun and important. In this book, I feel that I have fully corroborated evidence that it Happened, by virtue of the people involved on both sides of Steve Gullick’s camera being slap bang in the centre of it all.