They told us we didn’t have many lectures on my music degree because we needed time to immerse ourselves in music, and that we needed three hours practise time per day. In our college there was this mystical place of dreams, and (more pertinently) scores, and books and records (yes, records) and CD’s. And when there was no-one to go to the refectory, or the pub with, and there was nowhere in the practice rooms to eat my dinner, or read the paper, and no-one was in the common room much, then I visited this place, known as ‘the library’.
On these very rare occasion, I would read the paper (and sometimes get away with eating my dinner) but also I listened to records and CD’s. It was varied, some of the jazz section, but also weird classical music like George Crumb, Morton Feldman and Karlheinz Stockhausen. My favourites were a largely American group of minimalist composers, that used brief melodic fragments, repeated and gradually changing over time that was quite intoxicating to listen to. Often John Adams or Philip Glass were pumped through my headphones, but most popular of all, on those rare occasions as I drifted away from the newspaper and into my own imagination, was Different Trains by Steve Reich. This is beautiful and evocative and has tapes and strings and, well, atmosphere.
Turns out producer James Rutledge also loves different trains by Steve Reich, but he also loves (and come on, right now who doesn’t) Manchester’s Everything Everything, saying
“Everything Everything are one of my favourite bands… I wanted to remix the entirety of the new album into one coherent track that retained the emotive punch and some of the thematic threads that run through Arc. To just build a song using disparate parts from the record.I’ve always loved tracks built from samples and musical collages/ bricolage, edits, tape splicing etc. but really wanted to create something contemporary rather than retroish. In plain speak that means Everything Everything made one of the albums of the year (already) and the chance to tinker with a bunch of fantastic songs and make something equally brilliant was too much to turn down.
He goes on to explain ‘Whilst I was working on it, I had a day where I had to travel on the overground to the other side of London. Steve Reich’s Different Trains was in my earphones and I couldn’t hear it too well because the tannoy announcements during my journey were so loud. As I flipped backwards between my rough version of the remix, the EE album and the Reich track I realised that I wanted the remix to sound like a serene and abstracted train journey where you glimpse bits of the album through the window and fragments of the tracks blow around in the dust.”
What is created is a whole homogenous piece, cut apart, arranged into something equally familiar and new, like some kind of musical Peter Blake and smudged with electronic fairy dust. Its enough to drift away to, much like different trains, whether or not your armed with a paper and your dinner.