Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios celebrate 25 years of recording world-renowned artists this year. To celebrate the studio, formerly owned by Genesis, is producing 25 short films over the next 12 months, documenting some of its most important recording projects.
The first part in the series focuses on a special Liverpool-based live performance of minimalist classical composer Steve Reich’s three movement piece for string and tape, Different Trains. The documentary charts the recording of the soundtrack for the visual accompaniment to the performance by artist and filmmaker Bill Morrison. The film expands on the process that went into the recording, as well as the musician’s expectations of the performance.
As a child during the Second World War, Reich would make journeys from New York to Los Angeles to visit his parents, who’d separated previously. As an adult, he thought back to those train journeys and how, being Jewish, they might have taken him to a concentration camp had he been born in Europe.
Morrison’s film features archival footage of train journeys filmed during the war. It was commissioned for an open-air performance at Liverpool’s Edge Hill train station last week to coincide with the composer’s 80th birthday celebrations.
Other Parr Street clients include Coldplay, Doves, Paolo Nutini, Napalm Death and Rihanna but they it remains a hub for Liverpool and North West artists big and small. Echo and the Bunnymen, The Lightning Seeds, The Farm, The Coral, Cast and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra have all recorded there. This year the studio is working with Clean Cut Kid, Bill Ryder-Jones, Sugarmen, Blossoms and Hooton Tennis Club.
Keep your eye on the See Hear section of bigissuenorth.com for future documentaries over the next 12 months. Read our feature interview with Blossoms in Big Issue North, 7 Nov