anonradio: the next generation

Background Noise: Ron Geesin

Posted in Background Noise by Ellard on October 20, 2008

Here is a link, the programme first aired on 23rd of September.

Richard Wright, keyboard player and founding member of Pink Floyd passed away on September 15 at the age of 65 following a short illness with cancer. Wright’s richly textured keyboard layers were a vital ingredient and a distinctive characteristic of Pink Floyd’s sound. In addition, Wright frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd. he wrote significant parts of the music for classic albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Pink Floyd’s final studio album The Division Bell .Now a Richard Wright track,sysyphus part III (1’49”)from ummagumma the1969 fourth album by Pink Floyd.It’s hard to beleve it”s Pink Floyd.

Good Morning, Richard Fielding and myself John Blades return for a morning of quintessentially British  avant-gardeism.  This morning the recent double CD Biting the hand, the BBC radio broadcasts of Ron Geesin from 1969 to 1975 and released on Hux Records .  He is one of Britain’s leading avant-garde composers and performers. The first CD includes introductions by and discussions with perhaps his greatest radio supporter, The Late John Peel.From his website:
Composer, performer, sound architect, writer, lecturer, broadcaster and interactive designer, Ron Geesin was born in Ayrshire in Scotland in 1943. He co-wrote Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother [EMI CD] and made Music From The Body [EMI CD] with Roger Waters. After his first solo album A Raise Of Eyebrows [Transatlantic 1967], he became one of the first one-man record companies with As He Stands, Patruns and Right Through. His first book of poems and stories Fallables appeared in 1974.
On the CDs all instrumentation Is by Ron Geesin and includes:

Ron Geesin: voice, 6-string, 4-string, 1-string, detuned, multi-tracked and “eastern” banjos, red petrol can, piano (plucked, beaten and played), percussion, ring-modulated and multi-tracked percussion, celeste, mouth, cymbals, tape delay system, tape inside London bus, harpsichord, water cistern, VCS3 synthesizer, synthesizer bass, tape loop, tape loop of train on rails, mandoline, drum. etc

CD1, the main other voice Is John Peel


1,2,3, 7,8,9,15,18

1,blues tuned a bit green,1’39”

2,pretty little faces,2’56”

3,off the left cuff,2’12”
4,yesterdays sheep,2’37”

7,a piece for harmonium,2’21”, all from 1968

For Expo 70 (Osaka Japan), he made a large multi-source sound-work in the British Pavilion. He Has Also constructed other multimedia environmental works.

He was often featured on John Peel and Bob Harris shows for BBC R1.

Continuing with  CD one:

8,John Peel introduction,1’21”

9,wind of life,2’21”

11,whirls of brain,0’56”, 1968

15,3/4 plywood cover for voice.3’28”

18,Mr tape machine,speak with your heads,3’45”, 1969

And he has composed music for film and television.  Interestingly  he describes his live improvisations as “sub-conscious flow”, studio music as “electro-melodic sound-painting” and his life as “chance careering”.

Not surprisingly his influences include The Goons And Surrealism.


CD2, the first selection

1,Ron’s notebook,3’04”,
3, agitation in anticipation of offspring part W,2’24”,

5, agitation in anticipation of offspring part Y,4’20”, 1969

As a spirited and informed lecturer, he has excited students since 1969 from primary schools to universities, examining the combining of music and sound with subjects as diverse as typography, the street and the media.

A Great Revelation for Ron Geesin was his discovery of the A 77 Revox reel-to-reel tape machine and tape loops and delay.  He Has Collaborated with artist/writer Ian Breakwell in audio, video and radio.

He Has Released approximately 28 recordings since 1973.

Continuing with CD2, the final selection:

7,a cymbal and much electronics ,2’59”
8, got me black vest on,2’24”

9, which way out?  Thank you,2’23”,1971

10, two feet and a mouth,3’24”,
13, Chrisfarce,3′ 16″

14, from Sevenoaks to Charing Cross,2′ 51″,1972

Finally , Ron Geesin said in 1969 “I want to mean something but I don’t want to belong to anything “.