Tuesday, March 07, 2006

PAUL LOWRY: UNKNOWN GENIUS

Years ago, a British radio man/mad genius named Paul Lowry took existing recordings of popular favorites and used all manner of studio trickery to turn them into insane, hilarious "remixes": tape looping, interjecting sound effects, Chipmunk-like vocals, tape speed manipulating...the man would stop at nothing. The recordings, apparently never released, are similar to the music-concrete the avant-gardists were doing at the time, but filtered through a Spike Jones sensibility.

Reading, England's DJ/mashup loonies Pilchard (aka The Fruntroom 5) received a tape of Lowry's work thinking it was, in fact, the work of Spike Jones. But Spike was a performer - he did everything with a live band. This is clearly tape/studio tomfoolery, though very much influenced by Jones's brand of wacky musical comedy. Lowry even uses some of the same music as Spike - classical war-horses like the "William Tell Overture."

Unfortunately, little is known about Lowry. When I asked Pilchard for more info, he wrote, "There aint no chance - the guys dead. He was called Paul Lowry. The woman that gave me the tape is senile...He played on the radio - that's all I can tell ya. Actually-come to think of it-musique concrete MAY have been written on the tape. There's another geezer mentioned in the notes which alas I no longer have, jog me memory.. I dunno, I'll try track the old girl down." We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Paul Lowry

1. "I Got Rhythm"
2. "William Tell Overture"
3. "Sabre Dance": sounds like live pots'n'pans percussion; brilliant tape looping at one point
4. "Rudio Nasrael" (??): some mighty impressive belching in this one.

Kudos to Pilchard for performing some serious audio restoration on the tape.

UPDATE June 10, 2007: We still don't have much info on Lowry, but Ted from Redding CA confirms hearing "William Tell Overture" on a tape of BBC radio broadcasts, so it appears that Lowry, indeed, did these for the BBC.

UPDATE June 13, 2007: I wrote to the BBC. Their reply: "I note your interest in a gentleman called Paul Lowry who may have been employed by the BBC. Having checked our database, we have no contact details for anyone of this name." I'm starting to wonder if his name was, in fact, Paul Lowry. Maybe that was just the guy who owned the tape that fell into Scott Pilchard's hands...UPDATE July 8, 2009: All tracks now available HERE, thanks to Doklands, who also informs us: "I managed to identify the "Rudio Nasrael" track - it's the theme to the BBC show "Radio Newsreel", also known as "Imperial Echoes" and written by Arnold Safroni.

8 comments:

Alfred Armstrong said...

This is just fantastic. Thanks so much. I wish I had something more cute and witty to say, but you'll have to content yourself with a gushing note of appreciation instead.

Peter said...

likewise. this is genius. thankyou!

Anonymous said...

There are lots of Ruth Wallis mp3s at archive.org

David

dok said...

Hope you don't mind, but I've reassembled these tracks and posted them on Doklands. They're just too good to lie dormant like that. In the process, I managed to identify the "Rudio Nasrael" track - it's the theme to the BBC show "Radio Newsreel", also known as "Imperial Echoes" and written by Arnold Safroni.

mark said...

This is great! Not a sausage.

Dirk Bill said...

I am beyond intrigued, and yet these links are dead. Lots of comments across the web; it's like Stan Freberg with a fake name! Would love to hear this...

Mr Fab said...

Hi Dirk, looks like you can get 'em here:
http://mp3juices.com/search/paul-lowry

Dirk Bill said...

Thanks Mr. Fab! These are just outstanding recordings; I hope someday somebody can fill in the info gap on this person. My parents saw Spike Jones perform live twice, so I grew up with an appreciation of the absurd in music (which also explains why I am on your site all the time!!!).
Also also, I discovered I was wrong about your link: The "alternate download (sendspace)" is fine, just operator error on my part (as usual).