Dummy Jim: The One Ensemble & Sarah Kenchington
This album by The One Ensemble & Sarah Kenchington is inspired by Scotsman James Duthie's journal I Cycled into the Arctic Circle.
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Author: The One Ensemble, Sarah Kenchington & Unshaped Led
Publishing date: 2009
In May 1951 a profoundly deaf 28 year old Scotsman called James Duthie – known fondly to his local community as ‘Dummy Jim’ – cycled solo on a return trip from the small fishing town of Cairnbulg in the north east of Scotland to the Arctic Circle. The journey took three months and was managed on a budget of just £12. On returning to Scotland, Duthie wrote about his travels and in 1955 a slim volume called I Cycled into the Arctic Circle was published. Sadly the cyclist was killed in a mysterious road accident in 1965.
In 2001, artist filmmaker Matt Hulse (creator of two Animate works) received a copy of the book from his mother, who had unearthed the hidden gem whilst working at a second hand bookshop on Iona. Inspired by the journal’s eccentricity and genuine warmth, Matt made a commitment to bring James Duthie’s unique story to the silver screen. Shooting of the feature gets underway in summer 2010. You can retrace Duthie's route & get a foretaste of the project at the beautifully animated website.
The album Dummy Jim by The One Ensemble & Sarah Kenchington was in turn inspired by Duthie's writing & the suite of works (supported by an SAC New Music Award) will form the basis of the film's soundtrack.
The One Ensemble's music has been described as 'a magical conjuring act by a group of trickster alchemists wandering in a foreign land'. Sarah Kenchington builds her own remarkable mechanical instruments, including a pedal-powered hurdy-gurdy, a giant rotating kalimba & her own brass band, powered by tractor inner-tubes.
Reviewing the album, Anthony D'Amico writes:
'To Hulse’s great credit, he has enlisted some of the only musicians around that are idiosyncratic enough to befit the subject matter. Few directors would risk using music this attention-grabbing in a film. The Ensemble’s odd lurching rhythms, creative layering & shambling interplay combine to transform into something quite unique. These same characteristics are prominently displayed by Kenchington too, as her mechanized sculptures often lock into odd, repeating loops of strange, disjointed sounds that slowly cohere and escalate in intensity. Obviously, music this fiercely individualistic is not for everybody, but if a deranged, but skillfully harnessed, mash-up of Ornette Coleman, Harry Partch, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and Captain Beefheart sounds at all appealing, this is a pretty great place to start. Regardless, Dummy Jim is anything but boring.'
Read the full review here on Brainwashed.
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