29 May 2013

Interpretations On F.C. Judd

This month sees the release of Interpretations On F.C. Judd, on which a dozen contemporary electronic artists get to freely remix/interpret the recorded legacy of British pioneer Frederick Judd.

I wonder what Fred would've made of all this fuss? He died back in 1992, presumably under the assumption that his work as an amateur recording artist, inventor, author, editor and all-round galvanising force in the early days of D.I.Y. electronic exploration were forgotten by the world at large. I wonder if he'd been aware that the horrible 'rave' music that the kids in his street had started listening to was all part of an evolutionary stream that he had helped to bring forth? And that some of those youngsters thrashing around to Bizarre Inc. and Human Resource records would, 20 years later, be re-visiting his work? Did he have the faintest notion that he was a sort of guru to the wreckers of civilization?

I guess we will never know, but I would imagine he left this world believing that the utterly modernist sonic agenda he struggled to promote for over a decade had turned to dust. You can hear  more than a hint of weary resignation in his spoken letter to Tom Dissevelt where, with a grim chuckle, he acknowledges the 'suffocation' experienced by electronic artists back in the 1960s, observing that, in England, there was 'very little call for it'.

Yet here we are in 2013, and almost everyone (whether they know it or care about it) is listening to electronic music of some sort or other. The problem is that its now so ubiquitous and easy to make that it has almost completely lost its potency and ability to surprise, frighten or fascinate. Which is perhaps why some of us feel drawn to those early tape experiments, which somehow manage to retain that elusive spark of the unheimlich. And now twelve artists, myself included, have attempted to absorb some of Fred's mojo and present our findings to you on this new long-playing vinyl record. I think overall we did him proud, but if you disagree I hope you will forgive us. We only do what do out of love and respect for the man and his craft.

There are a couple of launch parties for the record, the first one in Salford, but I've used the poster for the Bristol one for the simple reason that I happen to be co-headlining it. If you're in that neck of the woods on 7th June please come and see us. If not for my sake then at least for Fred's.

For further thoughts, head over to The Quietus.

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