The Strange Face Project

For fans of Nick's music

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The Strange Face Project

Postby Matt (admin) » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:03 pm

We've had another press release about an exhibition relating to Nick. I'll definitely pop along as I work about 10 mins away!


The Strange Face Project - Adventures With A Lost Nick Drake Recording
Exhibition: 27h Jan – 12th Feb 2012

Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, London, E2 7JB

Idea Generation are excited to share a brand new exhibition, telling the story of one man’s discovery of a previously unheard Nick Drake recording which has touched the lives of a very special group of people: the lucky few, who were chosen to hear it.

Nick Drake is hailed as one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the last 50 years yet his is one of the most mysterious and intriguing stories of 20th century pop. Before his suicide in 1974 aged just 26 he was a relatively unknown artist but in his short recording career he had generated a legacy that would go on to influence some of pop’s most high profile artists.

“There's a magic about his music, a kind of fragility which a lot of people identify with.”
Paul Weller

“People come to Nick Drake and love it because they feel that they have found his music and it’s like a treasure.”
Kathryn Williams

The Strange Face Project is the story of a lost Nick Drake recording and how the man who found it chose to share it in an extraordinary way. In the 1970s, when working as a post-boy at Island Records, television composer Michael Burdett was asked to throw some tapes in a rubbish skip. Thinking he could use them in the studio he was setting up, he got permission to take them. One in particular caught his eye. “I picked it up because it had ‘Nick Drake, Cello Song’ and ‘with love’ written on the box. The
words ‘with love’ made me think that it had to be Nick’s handwriting and on that basis I couldn’t let it go to the dump.” It was over 20 years before Michael played the tape. When he threaded it on to a tape machine, he was astonished to hear an unknown version of Cello Song, one of Nick’s greatest works.

Idea Generation will be presenting a unique set of photographs which illustrate what happened next, when Michael set off on his adventure. With a CD player and headphones in hand, he travelled the length and breadth of Britain with the aim of offering individuals an exclusive opportunity to hear the recording. Of the 200 people Michael approached 167 said yes; city workers, farmers, scientists, hairdressers, musicians, tattooists – he asked them all. Randomly stopping them in the street, at their places of work and in their homes, whether they knew of Drake’s material or not.

“We are living in a world where recorded music is distributed so casually and freely it’s almost lost its value. However, here was an opportunity to use a recording to create a very personal moment for a number of people and maybe give them an incredibly special memory.”
Michael Burdett

Among the people he approached were some well-known faces, including Billy Bragg, Sir Tom Stoppard, Tracy Chevalier, Danny Baker, Alan Yentob, Martin Freeman, Noel Fielding, Richard E Grant, Jonathan Pryce, Fearne Cotton, Ross Noble and Paul Whitehouse. Michael photographed everyone who listened, people from the age of two to ninety-six, and documented their thoughts on the newly discovered recording.

“The great thing about Nick Drake is that you have to meet him halfway. You have to lean in to hear what he is saying.”
Billy Bragg, singer-songwriter

“He just died without me noticing. It is the velvet in his voice that brings out the best in him.”
Melvin Hodges, factory worker

“It was like the forest came to life and carried me about in a little silver papoose.”
Noel Fielding, comedian, actor


Dates: 27th Jan – 12th Feb 2012 Private View: Thurs 26h Jan 6.30 – 8.30pm
Address: Idea Generation Gallery
11 Chance Street
London E2 7JB
Tube: Liverpool Street or Old Street
Price: Free
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Postby Sundown » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:10 pm

One step closer...........
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Postby LostBoy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:19 pm

So will anyone else get to hear it? or are there only 167 chosen ones?
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Postby JoeChrisMorris » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:27 am

oh my..

if theres a cd playing of the song at the event, perhaps someone will make a tape of it then ?

kinda like the recent unearthing of alive Pink floyd recording from 67 - already recordings of the tape being played at the event are circulating! :
"and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make"
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Postby Peter Rice » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:20 am

1883 Magazine has a short piece about the project.
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Postby Nossuri » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:31 pm

Peter Rice wrote:1883 Magazine has a short piece about the project.

Thanks. I just had to think hard if the words "untimely suicide" make any sense... :?:
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Postby ladymc » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:32 pm

Peter Rice wrote:1883 Magazine has a short piece about the project.

1883 Magazine article gives incorrect dates for the exhibition.
Should read Jan 27th to Feb 12th.
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Postby Mirrored Soul » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:10 pm

Mirrored Soul
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Postby EKP » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:09 am

I wonder if he still has the tape or if the Estate has claimed it?...
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Postby Matt (admin) » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:58 am

Still has it - I got an email from the event organisers saying they're running a competition and the prize is for 2 'lucky' winners to get a chance to hear the recording. Seems to me rather a dubious thing to do to discover a lost recording and keep it for a select few people to hear, basically for your own gain.
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Postby wayne » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:20 am

Yeah, it seems a bit harsh to have a pop at him, but it is annoying that the rest of the world can't hear it.

Wonder what the estate's view of it all is?
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Postby illya_strikhar » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:36 am

Any news here? Can anybody contact the Estate and ask if this Cello Song version will ever be released?
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Postby Third Wave » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:07 pm

Simply no point at all.

The estate (as it's currently run) will not sanction anything that Nick personally disapproved of and this version of Cello Song was one of the rejected arrangements by Richard Hewson (Thoughts Of Mary Jane, Day Is Done and the original version of Magic being the others).
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Postby illya_strikhar » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:16 am

Ok, but maybe the guy who found this could release it or sell to someone for a lot of money? Or it is impossible without the approval of the Estate? I can't believe I'll never hear this recording.
Are there any others (except for Peel Session), which Nick recorded, but were never released?
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Postby Dan33185 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:38 am

There is a show he played at school I believe that very few people have heard.
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