Alexander Tucker’s homage to Derek Jarman
A personal selection of film, music and memories.
Fifth Continent is a posthumous collaboration album by Alexander Tucker and Keith Collins (1966-2018), which pays tribute to Collins, his partner and collaborator Derek Jarman (1942-1994), and the moonscape Kentish headland, Dungeness. The album features modular synths, cello, field recordings, the trumpet of musician Kenichi Iwasa and Collins’s voice. The accompanying anthology, Fifth Quarter, features writing, photography and artwork from artists, photographers and writers reflecting on Collins, Jarman, Dungeness, and Prospect Cottage, their former home and sanctuary. The anthology includes contributions from Cosey Fanni Tutti, Barry Adamson, Howard Sooley, Mark Titchner, and Sarah Badr, among others.
‘The Spring Room 2’ track from the album, and its accompanying video was recorded in Derek Jarman’s old writing room at the front of Prospect Cottage on Dungeness, where Tucker spent two days recording improvisations with cello, vocals and modular system. The album’s genesis came from a chance meeting between Tucker and Collins in Dungeness, and the two collaborated on ‘Between The Ears: More Than A Desert’ for the BBC in 2014. After Collins passed away from a brain tumour, Tucker set up recording equipment in Jarman’s old writing room, using Collins’ recordings as the springboard for a more wide-ranging set of experiments.
The album and anthology is out now on Subtext Recordings. Full details here
Photography Credit: Keith Collins at Prospect Cottage by Peter Tucker
Simon Fisher Turner - The Garden OSTI first heard snippets of this when I was 14 on the Arena documentary Derek Jarman A Portrait by Mark Kidel, and then recorded tracks onto tape from the radio broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Mixing It programme. I was immediately taken by the combination of strings and classical modes along side electronics and processed tape machines.
Coil - The Angelic Conversation OSTI’m not a particularly big Coil fan, I think I’m more into the actual soundtrack of the film, the mixture of sound design and music. Judi Dench’s rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets is a particular highlight, the presence of a ticking clock and her well paced warm delivery is exquisite.
Throbbing Gristle - In The Shadow of the SunThrobbing Gristle’s soundtrack to Jarman’s Super 8 montage film is as eerie as the film it inhabits. This was part of a series of films called “The Art of Mirrors”. The layered and psychedelic aspect of the film relates to Jarman’s minimal landscape paintings from the same time. The soundtrack’s use of space mimics the slowed down Super 8 film of figures traversing Jarman’s dreamscapes.
Harold Budd and Brian Eno - Failing LightThis is another one I first heard on the Jarman Arena documentary. Its deep melancholia is the perfect back drop for Jarman working in his garden surrounded by the desolate beauty of the Dungeness landscape.
Marianne Faithfull - Witches SongI love the 12 minute film Jarman made to be shown in cinemas to promote the album Broken English. Faithful walks around London’s Soho at night, beautifully lit by neon and street lights, interspersed with grainy Super 8 film of masked dancers circling around a fire.
Benjamin Britten - War RequiemJarman mostly worked with contemporary experimental artists to score the majority of his film, but classical music was his real passion. His 1989 film War Requiem uses Benjamin Britten’s score to create his own mediation on remembrance, memory and the atrocities of war.
Simon Fisher Turner And Klara Lewis - DroneI love this album, Simon continues to make such incredible work and his live performances inspire each time I see him play.
Grumbling Fur - Tilda Holds A Sword And LiliesI hadn’t listened to this in years, I remember Dan O’Sullivan opening up Modern Nature seeing the line “Tilda holds a sword and lilies” which became the title for this song. I feel like Jarman was never far from our thoughts when making music together.
Think Pink - George GershwinThis pops up in Jarman’s The Garden, one of it’s lighter moments, celebrating the gay rights movement before things go down hill for the two lovers central to the film.
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