I came across this rather odd duo, Public Service Broadcasting, last night, when Janice Long played one of their numbers on her Radio 2 show. According to the very short article on Wikipedia about them, they are:
a London-based pseudonymous musical duo consisting of J. Willgoose, Esq. on guitar, banjo, other stringed instruments, samplings and electronic instruments; and Wrigglesworth on drums, piano and electronic instruments.
They take samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material, attempting to 'teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future'.
I'm not normally a fan of such work; mostly because I don't particularly like the highly techno and/or thud-thud-thud rave soundtracks which seem to be the almost ubiquitous choice. And, I must say, I especially dislike the Ma-Ma-Max Headroom-esque-esque-esque electron-on-onic stuttutter wankery which gets, all too often, applied in order to "spice up" the narration being sampled. Oh, and they tend to go on for far too long. Unless you introduce a drastic change in mood, theme or tempo, rock and pop music simply doesn't work over ten-or-fifteen minute lengths, in my opinion. Such things tend to be, again in my opinion, more about "look what I can do with all this gadgetry" than about entertainment.
This pair, though, seem to be taking it in a slightly different direction. What they produce isn't completely reliant on the video, and the music is more accessible to old fuddy-duddies like me, and is enjoyable as music, but at the same time the video does add a further layer of enjoyment. (And they use a banjo, fer Pete's sake! How marvellously un-techno is that!?)
It's not that I have anything against people producing and enjoying the more in-your-face techno pieces, but I must say it's nice to have an example or three of this video/audio sampling art-form which I can enjoy. And I'll shut up now, and let you, Gentle Reader, enjoy it too. Or not, as your taste dictates.
That last piece, London Can Take It, is sampled from a 1940 short of the same name, which is well worth watching in its entirety. Although ostensibly made as a moral-booster for a British audience at the time of the blitz, it was also intended for release in the U.S.A., in hopes of increasing popular demand there, for the U.S. to join the war; hence the deliberate choice of an American journalist, Quentin Reynolds, as narrator. It was nominated for an Oscar in 1941.
Here it is in full.
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