Basil Kirchin

Profile:
Basil Kirchin (August 8, 1927 - June 18, 2005) was a British drummer and composer. His career stretched from playing drums in his father's Big band at the age of 13, through scoring films, to experimenting with the manipulation of recorded sounds which has seen him cited as "the father of ambient music".
Basil Kirchin's debut was at the Paramount, Tottenham Court Road in London in 1940 where he played drums in the popular dance band led by his father Ivor. After the war, Kirchin played with Harry Roy and Ted Heath but returned to work with his father in the Kirchin Band in 1951. The band continued to enjoy success with the likes of Billy Eckstein and Sarah Vaughan insisting that the Kirchin Band backed them when they toured Britain, their shows would break attendance records and they featured in Melody Maker polls. The band recorded for Decca and Parlophone with the latter being produced by George Martin. Kirchin was able to record the bands live performances. By 1957 the rise of Skiffle and Rock and Roll had brought an end to the Big Band era and Kirchin had decided it was time to move on "because you're a prisoner of rhythm. And I was fed up playing other people's music.".
A decade before it became fashionable Kirchin went to India and spent five months in the Ramakrishna Temple. He then moved to Sydney but as his possessions were being unloaded from the ship a strap broke and everything, including his recordings of the Kirchin band, was lost beneath the sea. This loss would trouble him for the rest of his life.
In 1961 he returned to Britain and worked with Keith Herd on experimental pieces "soundtracks for unmade films". He also produced material for the De Wolfe library using the talents of young session musicians like Jimmy Page and Mick Ronson. In 1967 the Arts Council awarded him a grant to purchase a Nagra tape recorder. This he used to collect ambient sounds, animal noises at London Zoo and the voices of autistic children. Kirchin experimented with slowing down the recordings to reveal "Little boulders of sound". "Take birdsong, all those harmonics you can't hear are brought down -sounds that human ears have never heard before.".
His experimentations were partly financed by composing film music for the likes of Catch Us If You Can (1965), The Shuttered Room (1967), I Start Counting (1969) with Jenny Agutter and The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971).
His experimental pieces were released on two albums both called World Within Worlds. The first was issued in 1971: Worlds Within Worlds, EMI Columbia (SCX6463) and included Part I - Intergration 2. Part II - The Human Element. The second was not issued until 1974: Worlds Within Worlds Island Records (HELP 18} Part III - Emergence Part IV - Evolution. Kirchin was frustrated with the record companies meddling with his material. Neither recording sold well at the time but have since become highly valued collectors items.
He continued to compose throughout his life and his music was acknowledged by a new generation with the release of material by Trunk Records. Kirchin said "I wanted to try and leave something for young people who are starting in music and looking for something as I've been looking all my life".
Many musicians have since acknowledged the influence Kirchin had had on their own works. From Brian Eno and Nurse With Wound to Broadcast - "We need role models like Basil Kirchin to go forward, and as we can see parallels in his music and ours, hearing this confirms that we're doing the right thing".
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Artist

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Albums

DW/LP 2966 Mind On The Run — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin & John Coleman Basil Kirchin & John Coleman - Mind On The Run(10", Mono) Music De Wolfe DW/LP 2966 UK 1966 Sell This Version
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KPM 1025 It's About Time — Basil Kirchin Kirchin*, Coleman* & Nathan* Kirchin*, Coleman* & Nathan* - It's About Time (Album) KPM Music KPM 1025 UK 1968 Sell This Version
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KPM 1031 Music Of The Nations, Volume 2 - Arabic / Asian / Oriental — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchen*, John Coleman, Jack Nathan, Johnny Pearson, John Leach Basil Kirchen*, John Coleman, Jack Nathan, Johnny Pearson, John Leach - Music Of The Nations, Volume 2 - Arabic / Asian / Oriental KPM Music KPM 1031 UK 1968 Sell This Version
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A 1040, A-1040 The Abominable Dr. Phibes (Original Motion Picture Score) — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin The Abominable Dr. Phibes (Original Motion Picture Score) (Album) American International Records A 1040, A-1040 US 1971 Sell This Version
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SCX 6463, 1E 062 ◦ 92558 Worlds Within Worlds — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Worlds Within Worlds (Album) Columbia, Columbia SCX 6463, 1E 062 ◦ 92558 UK 1971 Sell This Version
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HELP 18 Worlds Within Worlds — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Worlds Within Worlds (Album) Island Records HELP 18 UK 1974 Sell This Version
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BRJ 12 Wildlife — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin / Jack Nathan / Nigel Shipway Basil Kirchin / Jack Nathan / Nigel Shipway - Wildlife(LP) Bruton Music BRJ 12 UK 1979 Sell This Version
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MHS 14 Specifics 14 - The Nature Of Percussion Vol 2 — Basil Kirchin Terry Emery, Greg Knowles, Basil Kirchin, Danny Shackleton Terry Emery, Greg Knowles, Basil Kirchin, Danny Shackleton - Specifics 14 - The Nature Of Percussion Vol 2(CD, Album) Music House (3) MHS 14 UK 1993 Sell This Version
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JBH003 Quantum (A Journey Through Sound In Two Parts) — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Quantum (A Journey Through Sound In Two Parts) (Album) Trunk Records, Trunk Records JBH003 UK 2003 Sell This Version
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JBH 005LP Charcoal Sketches / States Of Mind — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Charcoal Sketches / States Of Mind (Album) Trunk Records JBH 005LP UK 2004 Sell This Version
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JBH 012LP Abstractions Of The Industrial North — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Abstractions Of The Industrial North (Album) Trunk Records JBH 012LP UK 2005 Sell This Version
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JBH 021CD Particles — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Particles (Album) Trunk Records JBH 021CD UK 2007 Sell This Version
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JBH038LP Primitive London — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Primitive London Trunk Records JBH038LP UK 2010 Sell This Version
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RSD001 The Shuttered Room — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin The Shuttered Room(LP, S/Edition) Trunk Records RSD001 UK & Ireland 2012 Sell This Version
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JBH067LP Basil Kirchin Is My Friend — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Is My Friend (Album) Trunk Records JBH067LP UK 2017 Sell This Version
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none Mind On The Run (A Basil Kirchin Sampler (For Hull UK City Of Culture 2017)) — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Mind On The Run (A Basil Kirchin Sampler (For Hull UK City Of Culture 2017))(CD, Promo, Smplr) Trunk Records none UK 2017 Sell This Version
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JBH068LP I Start Counting — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin I Start Counting (Album) Trunk Records JBH068LP UK 2018 Sell This Version
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JBH085LP Everyday Madness — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Everyday Madness(LP, Album, Ltd) Trunk Records JBH085LP UK & Europe 2020 Sell This Version
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Singles & EPs

TTT010 Silicon Chip — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Silicon Chip (Single) Trunk Records TTT010 UK 2016 Sell This Version
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Compilations

none Déjà Vu — Basil Kirchin Basil Kirchin Déjà Vu (Comp) Freetownway none UK 2019 Sell This Version