An experimental album, inspired by the work of Sir Edward Watkin (1819-1901), a bold innovator and entrepreneur, who In addition to being a British Member of Parliament, was also one of the first to attempt to build a channel tunnel between England and France. Sir Edward was instrumental in the birth of the Metropolitan Railway, which eventually became the Metropolitan Line on today’s London Underground.
When the Eiffel Tower was erected in 1889, Watkin wanted to build a taller tower in Wembley Park as an attraction to draw people onto the Metropolitan line.
By 1895, the tower (known as Wembley Park Tower, Watkin’s Folly and other names) was completed to its first level but was soon found to be unsafe. Finance became hard to find and work was halted. ‘The London Stump’, as the tower also became known, remained a landmark on the London horizon until 3 years after Watkin’s death when it was eventually dismantled.
The concrete foundations were discovered underneath Wembley Stadium when it was demolished prior to rebuilding in 2000.
The album was recorded on a modular synthesizer, in six uninterrupted takes, the length being driven by the length of the tape it was recorded onto. Through selection of modules, including use of a clock divider and pattern generator, the modular synthesizer was configured then set free to select the notes played – there was no human intervention in the selection of notes. Through the vagaries of the tape mechanism and the random voltages of the synthesizer, new rhythms and arrangements were captured with each pass. There are six tracks of music and one vocal. The reverb was provided by an EMR:11 unit made by Electro Mechanical Research and the echo itself was also recorded onto tape
An accompanying film will be released on 5th May via the Glass Reservoir website.
released May 12, 2014
Music Darren Hayman
Words Helen Atkinson
Voice Valentine Leys
supported by 21 fans who also own “Wembley Eiffel Tower”
For me this is both a beautiful song on a literal level and an allegory for living the socialist life - 'you wish all the wrong things in the world could be right'... 'If we collect all the strays and make them feel safe, there'll be some more out there to keep us awake.' Chris Clark