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Baker's Dozen

Too Good To Be True: Tom Robinson's Favourite Albums
Lisa Jenkins , August 7th, 2013 07:52

The erstwhile punk frontman and now radio presenter and all-round man of music distils his sprawling record collection down to his 13 finest albums


Gerry Driver - Speech Project
They are all folk musicians. Gerry Diver is a virtuoso fiddler. He’s a folk fiddle star in his own right, so he’s got a background having played for loads of people. He’s married to lead-singer Lisa Knapp who he produces. He produced that amazing Sam Lee album that got Mercury nominated last year. It’s unusual for someone to have credibility-roots in the folk world and to be accepted by the hardcore finger-in-the-ear, woolly-jumper-beer-drinking community and then to be fully accepted at the same time by the guys behind the mixing desk and be really sonically acute.

The reason I’ve chosen Speech Project is because these days there’s such a danger that pop will eat itself. We are constantly hearing things recycled. Because I’m as old as I am and I’ve lived through music of the 50s, my brother bringing home Elvis Presley records, I’ve lived through the 60s, discovering the Stones in ’63, I’ve lived through the 70s, punk and prog, and the 80s, 90s and the 00s, there’s so little I haven’t heard before in what comes across my desk right now which is sent to us as ‘new music’. The Gerry Diver album Speech Project is an album like nothing you could have ever heard in the preceding 60 years. He’s recognised the fact that when people talk they hit a little tune with their voice. He’s turned the sounds of the voices into little refrains that he’s then harmonised and used in loops, focussing on the narrative of them talking about what they’re talking about, so it’s not just sound for sound’s sake. He interviewed all of these people - in one or two cases the people were already dead so he’d had to take existing interviews of them - but to tell stories of the old days of the Irish folk music scene in this strange electronic medium is not like anything else you’ve ever heard, so to make music that is genuinely that innovative is blinding!

This is something you put on your iPhone so you know you’ve got something when you’re through with having to listen to music as a living. That’s work to us. Listening to all these indie bands, recycling music, and then the show’s finished. Your work’s done and you can just put on something on the tube on the way home or whatever. And that’s when Speech Project can just wash over you. It’s immersive, using all the beauty of stereo and all the little subtleties of it.

To get hold of the album, head to the Speech Project’s Bandcamp