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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Camberwick Green Preservation-Through-Remix Society (MP3)

When musicians plumb the murky depths of their nostalgia, one might think they run the risk of alienating, or at least confusing, an audience with whom they do not share a common pop-cultural background. Camberwick Green was the name of a British TV series for children that apparently ran for a short time in the mid-1960s. It made enough of an impression on Guy Birkin of Nottingham, England, that he took a sample of the show’s opening theme music — a mix of music-box melody and spoken introduction — and fashioned from it his own contemporarily glitchy yet backward-glancing rendition.

Birkin makes his home at soundcloud.com/notl, where his moniker is an adorable emoticon, :¬l. His reworking of the Camberwick theme opens with a spacey, head-trip bit of hazy, gaseous oddness (an appropriate time-warp signifier), but soon enough the looping trinkets of the original melody, along with select bits of the spoken voice-over (a word here and there, really), form a randomly rhythmic yet undeniably soothing piece of music. Drawing distant resources from his psyche, Birkin has reshaped them in a form of musical commentary on innocence and the passage of time.

I can’t help but think that the opening couplet of the series’ narration programmed a young Birkin at a subconscious level to eventually open up that “musical box” himself and make with it what he chose:

Here is a box, a musical box,
wound up and ready to play.
But this box can hold a secret inside.
Can you guess what is in it today?

For reference, there appears to be a brief video of the show’s opening moments, unmolested, at youtube.com. The “cover image” for Birkin’s track, appearing up above, is a still shot of a moment from the TV series. Below is a still image from the YouTube video, showing the musical box in question:

Back in February, I made note in this space of an earlier Birkin track, titled “bass drone 6c” (disquiet.com).

By Marc Weidenbaum

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