Friday, 24 December 2010


It doesn't seem that long ago, but in 2001 Andy Sheppard brought out the album "Nocturnal Tourist", his most adventurous project up to then (and probably since).
Anyway. It saw him use tapes and mixers etc. and play all the instrumental parts himself. As well as "dubbing" sounds recorded from various street scenes.
It worked very well indeed and the technique was "revisited" to an extent when he and Northumbrian Pipe playing folky Kathryn Tickell recorded the album "Music For A New Crossing".

And he's at it again! This time as a free Christmas gift.
His promoters "Serious Music" have put on t'internet a 12 track sampler "The 12 Songs Of Serious" (link: ).
Loads of good stuff here, including the Portico Quartet, The Bad Plus and Yaron Herman.

But it's Sheppard's version of "Silent Night" that interests me most. All the other tracks are lifted from albums I either have or intend to get. This though is unique to this web site.

It's mainly solo soprano sax minimally doodling along to the well known melody (bit of guitar at one point as well). No, fancy solos or flights of fancy. The tune just flows along nicely.
All the time in the background there are children's voices at play. The frantic pace of the squeals, laughs and shouts shouldn't fit this music - but it does. I don't know why, but it gives the feeling of an isolated outsider lookin in on others Christmas cheer.
Might not be every ones cup of tea but it's a welcome change to the usual bunch of festive toons that are getting on your wick by about now (quite frankly, never mind murder - Phil Specter deserved to be locked up for that bloody Christmas album).

Only problem is you cant download it. You have to listen to it online (but then again it is free).
Although theoretically - if you had an output from a half decent sound card with a "line-out" and an old MP3 player that had a "line-in" then you could maybe copy it in real time.
Who would do that?

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