New Canal Street, Birmingham
Comfort Hour was recorded one evening during rehearsals for Lurid and Insane. The show wasto be accompanied by a Radio Station – People’s Radio Freedom – and the station needed content. Hamfisted! had beencommissioned to run the station, it seemed tough to give them no content at all but in the end the demands of creatingLurid and Insane meant that Comfort Hour was the only content we gave them and they were fine.
Days before, on 11th September 2001, rehearsals had been abandoned whilst we watched horrifying events unfold. Now, late inthe evening, we set up instruments in our first floor rehearsal space on Birmingham’s New Canal Street with our lights out, looking outover the railway line and the City Centre with its lights on. We knew we were to record an hour of material in a single take. Brianused the limited equipment we had available to improvise a live recording set up. James rapidly wrote a page of text for Heather to deploy asshe saw fit.
The text aims to create an ambiguous audio world that can be read as either reasuring of disturbing. The voice could be the soothing mantra of a self-help guru talking an insomniac into sleep, or it couldbe the mouthpiece of an Orwellian opiate state asking you to accept the Status Quo and the benevolenceof those in-charge.
The result was rough and ready but atmospheric (you can intermittently hear trains rumbling past in the background), it got played in full every night as People’s Radio Freedom closed down. later sections were played on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction.We tried recording a similar improvisation in a recording studio with better equipment intending to release this as a CD but this second recording was nowhere near as good, so we chose to release the original.
Heather Burton: Voice
Amanda Hadingue: Violin & Backing Vocals
Graem Rose: Bass Guitar
Craig Stephens: Keyboards
Andy Watson: Rhythm Guitar
Nina West: Lead Guitar
Simon Webb: Drums
Brian Duffy: Recording & Live Mixing
James Yarker: Text
Ed Dimsdale: Photography
Simon Ford: Graphic Design
Syd Ewart: Studio Thanks
Emily Dawkes: Administration
Pieces for the Radio: Volume 2 Comfort Hour.
A lullaby for adults living in troubled times.
Playing time 1 hour.