Making a New World

Field Music

Cat No: MI0569LPX

1. Sound Ranging
2. Silence
3. Coffee or Wine
4. Best Kept Garden
5. I Thought You Were Something Else
6. Between Nations
7. A Change of Heir
8. Do You Read Me?
9. From a Dream, Into My Arms
10. Beyond That of Courtesy
11. A Shot To The Arm
12. A Common Language Pt 1
13. A Common Language Pt 2
14. Nikon Pt 1
15. Nikon Pt 2
16. If The Wind Blows Towards The Hospital
17. Only In a Man’s World
18. Money Is a Memory
19. An Independent State

Field Music’s new release is “Making A New World”, a 19 track song cycle about the after

effects of the First World War. But this is not an album about war
and it is not, in any
traditional sense, an album about remembrance. There are songs here about air traffic
control and gender reassignment surgery. There are songs about Tiananmen Square and
about ultrasound. There are even songs about Becontree Housing
Estate and about sanitary
towels.
The songs grew from a project the band undertook for the Imperial War Museum and were
first performed at their sites in Salford and London in January 2019. The starting point was a
document from the IWM collection; an im
age, from a 1919 publication on munitions by the
US War Department, made using “sound ranging”, a technique that utilised an array of
transducers to capture the vibrations of gunfire at the front. These vibrations were displayed
on a graph, similar to a se
ismograph, where the distances between peaks on different lines
could be used to pinpoint the location of enemy armaments. This particular image showed
the minute leading up to 11am on 11th November 1918, and the minute immediately after.
One minute of opp
ressive, juddering noise and one minute of near

silence.
“We imagined the lines from that image continuing across the next hundred years,”
says the
band’s David Brewis,
“and we looked for stories which tied back to specific events from the
war or the imme
diate aftermath.”
If the original intention might have been to create a mostly
instrumental piece, this research forced and inspired a different approach. These were
stories itching to be told.
The songs are in a kind of chronological order, starting with
the end of the war itself; the
uncertainty of heading home in a profoundly altered world (“Coffee or Wine”). Later we hear
a song about the work of Dr Harold Gillies (the shimmering ballad, “A Change of Heir”),
whose pioneering work on skin grafts for inj
ured servicemen led him, in the 1940s, to
perform some of the very first gender reassignment surgeries. We see how the horrors of the
war led to the Dada movement and how that artistic reaction was echoed in the extreme
performance art of the 60s and 70s (
the mathematical head

spin of “A Shot To The Arm”).
And then in the funk stomp of Money Is A Memory, we picture an office worker in the
German Treasury preparing documents for the final instalment on reparation debts

a
payment made in 2010, 91 years afte
r the Treaty of Versailles was signed. A defining, blood

spattered element of 20th century history becomes a humdrum administrative task in a 21st
century bureaucracy.
As David wrote in the pamphlet accompanying the IWM performances,
“In writing these
songs, we felt we were pulling the war towards us

out of remembrance and into the
everyday

into the now.”
This is Field Music’s first true concept album. It’s also their first record, at least since 2007’s
Tones of Town, which really is a “band” album
. While most of Field Music’s output has been
pieced together primarily by brothers Peter and David Brewis, with a supporting cast
dropping in to add finishing touches, the basic tracks for Making A New World were recorded
in two full

run throughs by the F
ield Music live band

Liz Corney on keyboards, Kevin
Dosdale on guitar and Andrew Lowther on bass, with Peter and David on guitar and drums
respectively

in a single day, following the final performance at IWM London

£8.99£17.09

Forthcoming

Genre

Released

10/01/20

Record Label

Memphis Industries
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