Friday, October 19, 2018

Ancient legends and new technologies


That photo shows a statue of Daedalus on the clifftop at Agia Galini on Crete. As part of my noise cancelling enabled concert hall without walls experiment I had the pleasure of experiencing Icarus from the Paul Winter Consort's eponymous album at the very point where legend tells that Icarus and his father the master craftsman Daedalus started their fateful flight. The album was produced in 1971 by none other than the legendary George Martin who was at a loose end following the break up of the Beatles. There is an auspicious link to a more successful pioneering flight, as George Martin recounts in his autobiography All You Need Is Ears:
The album was called Icarus, and was, I think, the finest record I have ever made. It didn't sell particularly well, but a lot of people took notice of it. And it had one special distinction. The title song, 'Icarus', also went out as a single, and David Darling's [the Consort's cellist] brother gave a copy to one of the Apollo crews. That was how it came to be the first record taken to the moon, though I don't think they had the facilities for playing it!
'The finest record I have ever made' is great praise indeed, and this album truly reached for the stars. Icarus was a Ralph Towner composition which became a jazz standard. The Paul Winter Consort's insanely talented multi-musician Collin Wallcot went on to play on the three priceless albums from World Music pioneers Codona before joining his Consort colleagues Towner and Paul McCandless in the genre-busting Oregon. But tragically Collin Wallcot died in a car crash in East Germany while the band was touring in 1984. My experiment with a concert hall sans frontières proves, if any proof is needed, that new technology can deliver enormous benefits in the right set and setting. But as Icarus and his father discovered, when new technology flies too close to the sun, disaster ensues.


With thanks to Michael Murie for confirming the George Martin backstory in 2011. My social media accounts are deleted. But new Overgrown Path posts are available via RSS/email by entering your email address in the right-hand sidebar. Any copyrighted material is included for critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).

1 comment:

Pliable said...

Trivia -Ralph Towner and Oregon bassist Glen Moore played at the Woodstock Festival backing folk singer Tim Hardin.