THE FULL STORY
After joining Robert Wyatt’s Matching Mole in 1971, I stayed for a while at Robert’s house in St Luke’s Mews, Notting Hill, where the band was rehearsing. My John Brinsmead upright piano went with me.
While there, I wrote a piece of music I entitled ‘A-Mews-Sing’ (being a big fan of puns).
It consisted of a circle of chords and had no lyrics. Robert enjoyed vocalising on that track as it gave him unlimited scope to challenge his unique vocal abilities, even sometimes to the point of sounding like a laughing hyena or a burst of machine gun fire!
After leaving Matching Mole in 1972, I joined ‘Hatfield and The North’. Soon after this, when the band was filming for a French TV program in Paris called Rockenstock, Robert joined us on vocals.
One of the pieces we recorded for the live TV show was the track ‘A-Mews-Sing’.
During the program Robert was also interviewed in French, and one of the topics discussed was the Vietnam war.
Over 30 years later while Richard Sinclair and I were listening to some cassette tapes in Richard’s Canterbury home, he came across his original recording of that program and asked me if I remembered that particular song from 1972. I had completely forgotten about it, but suddenly it all came back to me and I realised the potential it could have.
The very same day, after playing through it, I decided to include it in my new solo album, ‘Full Circle’ and started work on it. In essence it was to become a vital missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle, and fitted perfectly into the idea of the album, with lyrics in French, English, and Japanese.
The significant use of a ticking clock formed the basic rhythm of the song, along with Marcus’s drums. Hannele wrote the French lyrics and recorded her vocals in Paris where she was living. Roxane, who did some amazing vocals on my ‘Full Circle’ album, sang the English, and Naomi wrote the Japanese lyrics and recorded her vocal in Kyoto, Japan.
This song, about the hope for peace in this world, I tagged onto the end of another track called Sancti, which I had recorded with choristers from Canterbury Cathedral.
At the end of Sancti, we added the sound of footsteps walking out from the tranquility of the Cathedral and into another very different reality; the two tracks linked together seemed to convey the complete antithesis sometimes found in the worst of human nature.
So now my son Nic and I have put together a video to document this piece of music originally recorded for my Full circle album in 2003, around the time of the war in Iraq.
Sometimes it’s amazing in life just how many things do seem to turn full circle.