Mind on the Run: The Basil Kirchin Story

17-19 February 2017

A weekend of concerts, screenings and talks celebrating the music and legacy of Hull’s own creative genius, Basil Kirchin.

Presented by Hull 2017 in partnership with Serious, BBC Radio 3, J-Night, Nova Studios and the University of Hull School of Arts.

Basil Kirchin is the forgotten genius of post-war British music. A pioneer of musique concrete, his remarkable life stretched from the days when British dance music mutated into rock’n’roll, through a headlong succession of film scores and pop songwriting, before retreating to Hull, where he created sonic landscapes that still challenge convention while eking out an increasingly reclusive existence until his death in 2005.  Described by Brian Eno as “a founding father of ambient”, Kirchin’s intriguing history represents a collision of popular and experimental musical cultures that predate and define much of the music we hear today.

The focus in February 2017 was an immersive and far-reaching weekend centred on Hull’s City Hall and its environs. It brought together an extraordinary collision of artists who have themselves happened upon Kirchin’s work.  The programme included: Jerry Dammers’ Library Music DJ Set, Sean O’Hagan (The High Lamas) & Friends; Abstractions of Holderness, a new audio-visual piece from St. Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs; Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory with the BBC Concert Orchestra and special guests, performing pieces composed by Basil Kirchin and new works by Matthew Herbert and Sonic Youth's Jim O'Rourke; the hugely influential improviser and Kirchin collabroator Evan Parker, with Spring Heel Jack, Matt Wright and Adam Linson; The Hidden Orchestra, exploring Kirchin's field recording techniques; Future Bubbler Revenu with his new band project Two and Two are One; plus a range of individual creative spirits including Matthew Bourne and Alexander Hawkins, recreating the gothic muse of Dr. Phibes live on the mighty City Hall organ.  

Throughout 2017, sonic artist Peter Cusack also curated Favourite Sounds of Hull, a special project inviting people to share their favourite sounds of the city.