Belfast original jam
When someone posts the original demo of your favourite track, you’ve got to post it. Right? Well, Paul Hartnoll has posted the original jam version of Belfast, which was my #1 in my 50/50 Coming Down series a couple of years back. Below, I’ve lifted Paul’s explanation from his blog. 25 years on, it still sounds astonishing.
From Starting Again:
“It’s been a while. I’ve been on holiday . Back now. Not much to say about recent events, I’ve managed to take August off. Only managed it once before in the last 25 years. Played Solfest. that was great fun, loved it. Little gig , massive PA , great crowd.
Two more gigs to go for the time being , them I’m busy with some different work.
So I’m going retro on this blog. Along side my video diary’s that I’ve been going through I wanted to listen to all my old 4 track recordings and unreleased dat material. Start sharing that too. I’ve just got my 4 track fixed so while I was setting up some gear in the studio for the next run of work , I’ve been going through some of the old tapes. One thing I was pleased to find was the original version of Belfast. I thought it was lost forever.
I’ve been trying to remember exactly when I recorded it. It comes from the era between my first ever release on the house sound of London under the name ‘ds building contractors’ and buying our first orbital D.A.T. after getting a proper record deal with Pete Tong at FFRR. I know it was recorded after chime because the track on the tape before it is a more typical house track that has elements of chime and Belfast in it. I’ve given that one to you too incase you want to listen to the one’s that never made it as well as the origins of the ones that did. Anyway I’ve always thought of them as a pair.
I think it was probably winter 89-90 and in the months between Jazzy M putting out chime on Oh-Zone and its release on FFRR. Because it was influenced by the wave of ambient house spearheaded by the Orb and their A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld (EP).that came out early 90 I believe. It must have been then as chime was out and the orbital name was already launched because the simple truth is I wouldn’t have called Orbital Orbital if id seen the Orb first, that would have been mad right? Far too confusing having orbital , orbit and the orb around at the same time. Funnily enough someone asked me if Id written Little fluffy clouds , just the other day at Solfest. That’s been happening for 25 years. I wonder if Alex Paterson gets asked if he wrote chime?
Anyway so there I was just finished an early shift at Pizza Piazza in Sevenoaks. I decided to make an ambient song , it was a rainy melancholy mid-week kind of afternoon. I got the chords first and just went from there. Got it all in place as a drumless ambient piece, but I just couldn’t resist the call of the 909 drum machine. So in went the drums. Much better! So what you hear here is the Jam I did on a rainy afternoon, after work and before catching up with my friends for the evening. At the time I remember thinking, it was ok but I wasn’t over impressed. This was all recorded in my parents living room in the stairs alcove studio, that all the early stuff was written in, up to and including the first green album. the other one would have been recorded around the same time , probably a day or so before.
So Months latter after the success of chime in march 90 , I got a call from David Holmes, DJ , club runner and hair dresser from Belfast . Would orbital like to play at the art college in Belfast? Yes! So after the gig, in Davids Mum’s house’s spare bedroom David asked if we had any demo’s. I gave him a tape with both tracks on. Two week later David rings up and tells me that him and his friends all love the second track on the tape . We called it Belfast after the brilliant time we had there. So the track was named after, and dedicated to, David and all his friends.
Where is the vocal?
Well, when we were making the orbital ep III , we decided to put a version of Belfast on it , while I was re-recording it with all the lovely new gear we had bought from the record deal Phil was making at birthing tape for the imminent arrival of his second child. So he was at my Dad’s hi fi with the head phones on , while I was at the computer and sampler playing through the track . He popped the head phones off and said listen to this, it sound brilliant. So he turned the speakers up and hey presto! Hildegard of Bingen ‘o euchari’ burst through,in tune, in time, Job done!
I met up with David this May , he’d just won the Ivor Novello for best film score for 71. We were in the pub afterwards and he spoke about our trip to Belfast and the tape and how much it all meant to him and his mates at the time. I asked him if he still had it , as I thought it was the only one and had been quite curious to hear the other track. But alas , he said he had no idea where it went. So imagine how pleased I was when i discovered the original recording on Wednesday as I was setting up and listening to the old tapes and realised I’d only give him a copy , not the original after all. Here it is, all those years later. the Original Belfast and the other one.”