If you listen to ‘Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour’ on Sunday evening you’ll know that he’s recently been staying at Real World Studios - holed up in the Prod Cottage working on ideas for the next Elbow record. Turn on the radio, watch the TV, or go to make a cup of tea -Guy Garvey is omnipresent and riding high, with many people returning from the festival via the studios holding up the Glastonbury Elbow set as the highlight of the weekend.
With all these Elbow and Guy Garvey cues I was drawn back to the film I made last year as part of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Scratch My Back’ project. Peter sang Elbow’s ‘Mirrorball’ and they reciprocated with a version of ‘Mercy Street’. In the Peter, Guy, arranger John Metcalfe and producer Bob Ezrin talk about the project. We didn’t have very long with Guy on the day of the filming, but he was a dream subject, talking with real passion and depth about the track - it was like getting blood from an artery.
“We chose to cover Mercy Street because it’s such an amazing song, It’s my favorite from SO. Also because there’s a real tenderness and understanding in the lyrics. Before I knew anything about Anne Sexton or her poetry - the song is about and dedicated to her- I just knew that there was a real comfort to the song” Guy Garvey
“you never know quite what people are going to do with your tracks. With this one they’ve been fantastic people to work with, very easy, open and straight forward, and the music is stunning.” Peter Gabriel
The EP of the two tracks is available exclusively via ITunes.
I didn’t manage to get into the Spiro session until the last day of their whirlwind recording session for their follow-up to Lightbox. This was a great pity as they were making magical sounds. Unusually for a group of perfectionists they even seemed happy with their own playing and engineer Greg Freeman was at the helm to capture a great recording.
I’m a big fan of ‘Lightbox’, and am with Mr Gabriel when he says that although the first thing that hits you is the familiar ‘folky’ sounds, when you listen to the music it’s as rich in the influences of systems music from people like Steve Reich and Phillip Glass - “All sorts of musical influences are woven into this very contemporary music. This is soulful music, passionate music and I love it.” Peter Gabriel.
Go on, give it a listen - think of it as accoustic version of electronic dance music that even lures breakbeat DJ’s away from their samplers. I’m tempted to try and find a path that will lure listeners in - through the intricacies of Bach’s Fuges and into the endlessly facinating explanations in ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid’ - “Through illustration and analysis, the book discusses how self-reference and formal rules allow systems to acquire meaning despite being made of “meaningless” elements.” (Wikipedia) However, It’s an incoherent argument even before I start, so if you can access Spotify, just give it a listen.
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