Monday, 2 July 2012

The Truth About Barry Gray's DEVOlution

The Neoteric/NewWave/Electronica/o

Resident Composer:

To most, the name Barry Gray is basically unfamiliar, except for the ex-WMCA talk radio host of the late '60s/early '70s with which he fortunately- or unfortunately -depending on your political slant, shares a moniker with.
But the Barry Gray I'm talking about was born Jack Eccles, and to fans on both sides of the Atlantic, the UKUSA, and world-wide, this Barry Gray was the exclusive composer of ALL the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson created imaginative programs for children and (some not so) young adults:
Supercar, Fireball XL-5, Stingray, Thunderbirds,Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe90, The Secret Service,
To The Far Side Of The Sun, UFO, and his last
SPACE: 1999.

But did you know that besides all the fame, accolades, and adulation he garnered 
through his career- woefully underrated in my opinion - ranking right up there with John Barry and Bernard Herrmann, with whom he collaborated on Francois Truffaut's film 
of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 45(the temperature where book paper catches fire) - and he may also have incidentally, unknowingly, unwittingly, been one of the forefathers of New Wave and Electronica!

Which is kind of fitting and appropos since Truffaut was also one 
of the cinema's
French 'New Wave' directors in the 1960s.

Most of his work is of the lush epic orchestration, snappy martial, and pop
jingle variety, quite familiar to all avid Andersonfilm aficionados, but there are a few instances where now and then his music is so unusual and off-beat that it was regarded as unusable  such as:
But doesn't it remind of you of, of...
MarkJerryBob 1Bob 2
and imagine them doing
a version of this, o
r even (gulp) 

After all they've got the International Rescue uniforms already.
Ah DEVO- and they've Brains too! 

Okay, so that last track was an anomaly, a coincidence, in the words of Brian Enowho produced DEVO's debut Are We Not Men?
"a happy accident".
But was it?
The washing-machine rhythm and vocoder sound of this one is definitely in 
DEVO territory, Captain Scarlet.mp3, right up there with Mechanical Man.

DEVat times maybe a little Residents too, no?
(from the 1963 bicycle safety film 
La Planete Des Singes by One Got Fat)
Speaking of which there's another similarity/parallel:
In January 1967 Barry Gray released an album, Space Age Nursery Rhymeswhich was an EP, now rare and out of print,
Three Refined Mice.mp3
while The Residents in 1976 released
Duck Stab/Buster & Glen, the noteworthy tracks "Farmer" & "Twinkle", strange reworkings of Old Mac Donald, Pop Goes The Weasel, and 
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Mere coincidence.
Thought for food.

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