Wednesday, 1 June 2011

a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron

i can't remember exactly how long ago it was that i first heard Gil Scott-Heron's music or all the circumstances around it

i do remember that i was crossing the A10 on my bike, at the lights just outside the tyre place

i do remember that it was being played on my minidisc player (immediately dating my memories somewhat) and would have probably been part of a radio show that i had recorded so that i would have something worthwhile to listen to on my way to and from work, most likely either Xfm's Remix or Steve Lamaqc's monday night show on Radio 1

i do remember being so taken in by the track that i skipped the minidisc back to listen to it again, and used my clever little player's editing function to seperate the track and mark it as something of note and something i would want to revisit

i do remember being momentarily amazed by 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', simply in awe of, and fascinated by, everything about it

that ever so simple, almost tribal drum beat that sounds throughout

the spoken words, passionate poetry that was underpinned by the evocative percussion that built the sparse track into something oh so powerful and unbelievably unique

it was bold and daring and spoke to me in ways that no other music had done before

i didn't know that it was some 30 years old or so

i didn't know of Gil Scott-Heron until that point

i didn't rush out to instantly explore his back catalogue, but i looked into his past and his music and found something that i felt a real connection to

i couldn't name you all of his albums or recite you all of his lyrics, in all honesty, i have only probably heard just a handful of his tracks, but what i have heard was enough to inspire me

i do think the world is a little emptier without Gil Scott-Heron in it, but at least we still have his music and his influence that will long outlive him

with that in mind i decided to create my own music tribute to the late great Gil Scott-Heron, based upon the classic The Revelution Will Not Be Televised

i did try something else first, trying to create a looped up and sampled backing to sit under the vocals, but it didn't feel true enough to his spirit

it is quite simple in form, as perhaps it should be, and i hope that Gil Scott-Heron will never be forgotten

Giles Babel - go crazy (a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron)

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