WE SWOONED for “Metal Man”, a dusky tale of yearning from former Clayhill quiet songwriting genius Ted Barnes featuring the vocal talents of Brighton folkie Kristin McClement a month back now when we premiered it; and now Ted’s lovely album 17 Postcards is out in the world, he’s offered that track up for a remix from Red Snapper – the double bass-led outfit who released such knockout, wired jazz records as Prince Blimey and Making Bones for Warp around the turn of the century.
A deft manoeuvre this is from a fine and nuanced songwriter; and Red Snapper take the original (which we offer for comparison above) and fashion it into a cool noir jazz of late night confidences and shot glasses, truths unbundled under a single lamp, akin to past greats such as their 1998 single “Image Of You”.
Ted says of a creative partnership that stems from a long-term connection: “When I first arrived in London some 29 years ago I met Ali Friend from Red Snapper and I instantly became a fan of their music.
“It was so exciting to go and see them play, fusing all the genres and ploughing their own unique path. I was awestruck and blessed that I then went on to work with him for the next 27 years!
“It’s been great to ask them to do a reworking of a tune from the album and not surprisingly they chose ‘Metal Man’. It so suits their dark, cinematic style.”
Ali responds: “I have been blessed to write, record and perform with Ted for many years now – long may that creativity continue.
“I have especially enjoyed the reworking of ‘Metal Man’, allowing me to approach something familiar through the eyes of a different musical identity. Love it.”
The accompanying impressionistic video, all shadow and fiery shapes, comes courtesy the experiments with light that Ted’s partner, the artist Helen Maurer, has been conducting.
Ted says: “Helen had filmed these experiments with flexible glass, light and mirrors in her studio with Sebastian Sharples.
“I just loved their movement and almost human characteristics; I was very keen to put them to music. They seemed to really suit this track, slinking and convulsing across the screen.”
“Metal Man” (Red Snapper Rework) is out today on all digital streaming platforms.
17 Postcards is out now from Mornington Records on digital download and CD, and is available from Ted’s Bandcamp page, where you’ll find a multiplicity of other goodies, including Portal Nou; it’s also available from Rough Trade.
Connect with Ted over at his website, which will you lead on a merry and multidisciplinary musical trail.