MIXTAPE: Harbourmaster | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: TANKENGINE by Elfind

Words: Harbourmaster, aka Martin Trollope

I’m Martin and I work under the name Harbourmaster. You might already know me from District Attorney, The Union Choir and/or The Railway Club. I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember, and for the last fifteen years or so I’ve been recording it too. I’ve worked in a studio in South Shields where I’ve recorded hundreds of people of different ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. I’m currently working from home; mixing and mastering, recording session guitar and bass, and even just offering advice to anyone that needs it. I’m always happy to help.

Now that you know who I am, you can really get to know me by listening to some of the songs and artists that have inspired what I do and how I work.

You can get in touch via email on [email protected]

Wu Tang Clan – Bring da Ruckus
When I bought 36 Chambers, it changed everything for me. I’d sort of fallen out of love with music at the time, then suddenly music was my life again. I wouldn’t be doing what I do now without it. There’s an ‘us against the world’ spirit and a sense of collectivism that really invokes the good things I see in our local music community.

Tom Mouse Smith – Throw Me To The Wolves
I’m sneaking a few songs I’ve worked on into this, because they’re mint. This is the first one. See if you can work out the others…Tom is sixteen. Listen to this song and let that sink in. It’s thoughtful, urgent and relevant, and he recorded it at home during lockdown. Tom’s distinctive, powerful voice and lyrics give us a pretty accurate summation of how so many of us are feeling about the COVID-19 situation. He’s going far.

Beyoncé – Hold Up
The actual queen, with a perfect song. Pure pop minimalism. Vocally, it’s almost train of thought improvisation which totally appeals to me. It’s got this incredible groove mixed with a lingering, seductive threat that keeps you on your toes. I’ll always be crazy about this song and eternally jealous that I didn’t write it.

One of my favourite current local bands. Aggressive, progressive and slightly wonky, BANSHEE is full of appropriately wailing guitars, driving bass and pounding drums. The interplay between the two vocals, and the bite and bile within them, is really something else. It’s only just over four minutes long but it feels like it’s got absolutely everything.

Talib Kweli/Reflection Eternal – Good Mourning
I’ve loved rap since I bought The Best Rap Album in the World… Ever! on cassette. Unfortunately, whoever compiled it missed out Talib Kweli. I found out about him from a rapper I was recording and though I’d been told how good Talib is, nothing prepared me for HOW GOOD Talib is. Conscious and eloquent, Good Mourning is a perfect introduction to an important artist.

Eve Simpson – High Mountains
This song is just so beautiful. Eve is an absolute perfectionist and you can hear that here. The vocal is stunning. The lyrics are honest, open and reflective and every single aspect of this song works because it’s been so carefully thought through. I still get goosebumps when I listen to it, and I’ve listened to it a lot.

Headclouds feat. Me Lost Me – I Do Too
The first time I heard them play this song, I knew Headclouds had something special. It’s an effortlessly cool song, and it almost whispers its breathtaking melodies and harmonies to you while you float around in its atmosphere. If I think about this song for a second, it gets stuck in my head for a month, which is fine by me.

Headclouds · I Do Too (feat Me Lost Me)

Terry Riley – A Rainbow Curved in Air
Can I just quote the sleeve notes? “And then all wars ended. Arms of every kind were outlawed and the masses gladly contributed them to giant foundries in which they were melted down and the metal poured into the earth…All boundaries were dissolved…The energy from dismantled weapons provided free heat and light…The concept of work was forgotten.”

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