Friday, May 14, 2010

Jarvis Does The National Trust

Meet the newest heartthrob for the cardigan and wellies set.
(Photo via here)

Former Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker has teamed up with Britain's venerable National Trust to produce a free album of miniature soundscapes recorded on thirteen historic properties across England, Ireland and Wales.

Let me say that again: it's free. And you can download it HERE.
I've been listening to it since yesterday and I swear my blood pressure is now lower than a Tibetan monk's during morning gongyo.

There's no music to speak of, just the glorious pastoral sounds of crunching gravel, chirping birds, murmuring children, striking clocks and more.

It took Jarvis three months to record all the sounds and he describes it as "a holiday for the ears. It's not really meant to be listened to intently, like a piece of music, but more as something to have on in the background to aid relaxation or contemplation. Plus, you get to visit thirteen National Trust properties in the space of 30 minutes."

There's a creaking staircase from Chartwell House, former home of Winston Churchill, which made me envision all the late nights during WWII when he must have dragged himself up to bed with a heavy heart.
(Chartwell House, via here)

There's morning birdsong mixed with crunching footsteps on gravel from Belton House, a 17th century Restoration-era estate in Lincolnshire. (I must mention that this house was featured in the Colin Firth version "Pride and Prejudice", so of course it's impossible to listen to it without imagining Mr. Darcy striding up the path.)
(Belton House, photo: Peter Searle)

There's the lulling sound of waves lapping against the shore on Brownsea Island in Dorset -- I swear I thought I was dozing in a beach chair with a blanket tucked around my legs.
(Brownsea Island via here)

Birds capering in a Georgian water garden at Fountains Abbey, a World Heritage site with neoclassical statues and a medieval deer park, had me convinced that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere and wound up in one of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels.
(Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden. Photo: Tim Stewart)

There's an eerie track recorded at Ham House, a 400-year-old estate near the River Thames. Apparently, Jarvis perfectly captured the supposedly haunted character of the place. According to Victoria Bradley, house manager, "You can hear the sound of the big front door being unlocked by a key and the sound of crisp footsteps going through a basement and then into the distance."
(Photo via here)

According to The Independent newspaper, the indie musicians's appeal is so great that the National Trust website has been struggling to manage the vast numbers of people going online to download the album. (I did encounter a bit of trouble when I tried on Thursday, but by Friday it was no problem.)

I love that this album means that indie alt-rock lovers and the "Country Life" crowd are crossing into the same subset, don't you? Talk about two worlds colliding in the most delightful way:

"Pardon me, dear, but isn't that Jarvis Cocker's rendition of Chartwell House on your iPod? Yes, I thought so. And, by the way, I adore that lip piercing you're sporting."



Pamela Terry and Edward said...

As Hayley Mills said in The Trouble With Angels...."what a scathingly brilliant idea"!

Kathy G said...

Did you know that you can play more than one of the sounds at the same time? The Spade Mill makes a great back beat to the children at play... you can create your own little composition!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Kathy G: I totally did NOT know that! That is very cool...thank you for pointing that out.

Emily said...

I had no idea about this. I'm intrigued! Thanks for telling us about this. I'm still laughing at your last statement!!!! Love your wit Lisa!

Daniel-Halifax said...

By jove! Thank you for blowing this fresh tidbit of info into my dusty lungs!

Terra said...

Actually I like the photos of the sites, that you posted here, very much. This sounds like a good project.

Modern Traditionalist said...

Thank you for sharing! I'm downloading this very minute!


Vanya-Endless Inspiration said...

thanks for the hook up Lisa, love it!

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

wow, brilliant. will go check it out.

"lip-piercing you're sporting" -flipping funny!

Anonymous said...


ps Is this your gorgeous dining room?

Is so, I love it.

pve design said...

I must send you a cd my son made for me. He has some of the most brilliant song choices. Just the sort of thing you need for raising that low blood pressure while contemplating another piercing.

mary said...

Isn't this brilliant? I visited Ham House a few weeks ago and he's got the atmosphere exactly right ... sent chills through me.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Anonymous: Yes, that is my dining room. But what a snarky blog. My goodness.

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -

With this new job that I am in the process of getting "comfortable" in, a STRESS reliever could not have come too soon.

Thank you for bringing it to my attention and I am LOVING the fact that it is free!!

which means it is for me

Debra said...

Good Heavens!!! I can't move forward with this fabulous post- because I cannot wrap my brain around the Anon... post on her blog and the comments there! Didn't their Mothers teach them manners? And never mind that we all adore that wallpaper {with two 'L's' please}. I sometimes lose my train of thought among such negativity. Now- back to this wonderful post!

Robin Neudorfer said...

I can't wait to check this out. Thank you so much for sharing this. It might be a perfect sound to paint to.

Jodi said...

Snarky blog lead me to the lovely LA Times write up with the beautiful photos of you and your house.

Anonymous said...

Anon again - You have a first class blog, genuine talent and a delightful home.

Re that other blog, well, there is no accounting for taste...

Hannah Stoneham said...

Hilarious! I think that they ought to provide a visual aid as well as the sound....

thanks as always for posting a splendid piece


Laura [What I Like] said...

what a completely odd yet wonderful idea! I'm off to download immediately... Maegan said...

I want to download it NOW ...thanks :)

helen tilston said...

A cheerfull happy blog for a Monday. Thank you.

le style et la matière said...

I can't wait to see what Jarvis Cocker has been up to. To think that I had stayed with Underwear and Live Bed Show. Something's changed...

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