Monday, 30 March 2009

ROBERT ARMANI: Circus Bells (Hardfloor Mix)

Sometimes the music of a generation ago can sound as remote but as ultimately welcoming as the rounder churches of Norfolk . Ideally “Circus Bells” should be listened to at six on a fine August morning while lying on the grass outside All Saints’ Church in Old Buckenham; those querulously Brontë-ish curlicues of nocturnal ghosts, patiently evaporating to a whispered puff, the recollections of an industrial past, even if that past were as recent as 1987 – the minimalist concentration of an absolute believer (verging on the Rechabite), the bass like a quilted street corner daring modest disruption and is that a red balloon darting into the upper left frame to counteract any notions of greenness? They are bells, escaping from a circuitous camp of hopeful showbusiness; ponies sneaking free, domestic nations reclaimed.

But the sun will break through as relentlessly as the night will not rush to fade and when it does every soul rises to campanological communion; here a string line – a wonderful land, remember? – rises to greet with unhurried hope, now it all ascends to major bonds of worship and was it really nine minutes or was this happy ending always inevitable. Those islands in that stream, that drift away towards a new world, and they wake up on the first brilliant morning, feel the memory of their former constraints but turn their recently sunned faces towards the East and dance; a dance that everyone would recognise if they weren’t so keen to forget. Old Crome wouldn’t have needed any reminding. But sometimes the music takes another generation to prove its subtle yet profound point.