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Often cited as one of the seminal works in 20th century composition, this recording was performed at the Chateau d'Eau in Bourges over the course of two days in April 1990, gaining a number of new elements that greatly informed its more recent incarnation, as heard on the Touch-released version with Philip Jeck and Alter Ego.
The earliest version of The SInking Of The Titanic dates back as far as 1969 and a whole slew of changes were made since then to reflect historical discoveries surrounding the Titanic's ill-fated voyage: a bass clarinet lament is added to pay tribute to the young Scottish piper who lost his life during the sinking, woodblocks are used for a sequence in Morse code, and the hymn said to have been played by the band as the ship went down is rendered on marimba.
Further to that, specifically designed sound effects mimick the noises from the disaster, based on descriptions from survivors. The truly eerie, resonant quality of this recording comes however from the recording location itself. The Chateau d'Eau is a disused nineteenth century water tower, spread over three storeys and the strange, submerged and hollow aesthetic that characterises this version is largely owed to the acoustics of the building.
In setting up for the performance, the musicians assembled themselves in three separate locations in the basement, from which the sound travelled to the cavernous, uppermost level before eventually being channelled into the middle of the tower (where the audience resided) via a Chris Ekers sound installation. This sets the scene for a stunningly evocative and moving realisation of Bryars' music, and one that shouldn't be missed - even by those of you already familiar with its various other recordings.