Friday, 27 November 2009

Children of the Crimson Sky

An interesting little interview with James Cargill from Broadcast here, in which he discusses some of the film and television which has influenced their recent collaboration with the Focus Group and the concerts which have developed from it. His references are more or less congruent with what we love here, which may go some way towards explaining why I like the band so much. I feel compelled to get picky and point out that The Curse of the Crimson Altar isn't a Hammer film, and that the tensions which exist between the central triad of characters in the Owl Service emerge because two of them are outsiders from a well-off family and one a local boy who is intelligent but feels trapped by his environment. Having seen The Curse of the Crimson Altar on the telly recently, I have to say it is a godawful film, lacking even the period charm and barmy brio of some of the 70s Hammer films such as Dracula AD72 and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. It's sad seeing a frail Boris Karloff wasted on such lame fare, and why did they feel it necessary to paint Barbara Steele green? And give her absolutely no dialogue? Blood on Satan's Claw would seem to be a film from the era more in keeping with the spirit of Witch Cults of the Radio Age. As indeed Dracula AD72, with its supposedly hip characters pre-occupied with groovy parties and the tireless search for opportunities to freak out. In the spirit of the times, this inevitably leads to the staging of a black mass in an old church. This disastrous 'happening' is soundtracked by Broadcast favourites White Noise, the brief collaboration between Radiophonic Workshop favourites Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson, and David Vorhaus. Extracts are played from the appositely titled track 'The Black Mass: An Electric Storm in Hell', and very effective it is too, with the Kensington gore duly flowing and the Count conjured back into his cape once more. But as Cargill says, it is the lingering fragments of childhood memories which these programmes evoke which have seeped into their music. I'm glad someone else was affected so much by Children of the Stones. And Sky looks well worth seeking out. It's another one released on the Network label, who seem intent on unearthing all the hidden artefacts of our 70s childhoods.

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