Past Fragments of Distant Confrontation

by Richard Youngs

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released July 10, 2016

Teenage dissent in the privileged Southern England of the eighties often had music at its core. Anarcho punk was perfect for any disaffected youth who wanted to alienate their parents. Even better was the subgenre D-beat. It is very fast. It is very loud. 

D is for Discharge, a band who in their early days powered songs with a rhythm that subsequently defined a plethora of bands whose names mostly began 'Dis'.

In my town, the highest spiked hair belonged to the owner of a leather jacket on the back of which was written the lyrics to Discharge's 'Mania for Conquest' in their entirety. This remains deeply impressive.

I moved on to experiments with household objects, classical guitar and tape machines. Years later when my interest returned the records were there in charity shops and online auctions. Perhaps rediscovering the music of your youth is a form of midlife crisis.

'Past Fragments of Distant Confrontation' is my first orchestral work. It fuses D-beat, D.I.Y. experimentation and a naive approach to classical form. The world premiere took place at Tectonics, Glasgow, 2014 where the piece was performed by the BBC SSO under the direction of Ilan Volkov.

For this DIY Version I have taken the original 10 track electric violin recordings from which the string score was assembled as my starting point. The viola parts are recreated using samples triggered by midi derived from the orchestral score. The orchestral percussion is replaced by a drum machine hammering out the D-beat. It was recorded at Mayhem in Copenhagen in front of an audience who you will hear applauding at the end. Thanks to Nicolas Kauffmann for operating the cassette deck that captured the performance. The filtered white noise was overdubbed by Andrew Paine. The brass parts have been replaced by my multi-tracked voice. The ring-modulated guitar you hear towards the end originally featured in an article about the composition that appeared in the Exact Change e-magazine edited by Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang. The isolated guitar part can be streamed at:

soundcloud.com/exact-change-2/past-fragments-of-distant-confrontation-guitar

Additional mentions: Alasdair Campbell, Sara Czerny, Tobias Kirstein.

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