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Birkenhead. A small shipbuilding town on the banks of the River Mersey, nestled on a peninsula of land called the Wirral, tucked between Liverpool and North Wales. The conurbation populated the world’s oceans with great liners. It also populated the world’s radio waves and stages with some of the most fabulous and gloriously eccentric music you’ve heard: Bill Ryder-Jones, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Half Man Half Biscuit, Elvis Costello, Forest Swords, Queen Zee, Hooton Tennis Club.
The Leftbank Soundtrack takes listeners on a personal audio adventure, a voyage of sonic discovery through the back alleys and boulevards of Birkenhead to uncover tales of past glories and future stories. The tour is interpreted through the musical minds of the borough’s greatest noisemakers.
The animated music walk, using newly commissioned compositions from Birkenhead’s musical talent, threads together stories of music, movements, history and change. It takes you through Birkenhead, the old music venues and sounds, cultural heritage and hopes for the future.
“It’s a fascinating and interesting concept for Birkenhead and, as a Wirral boy born and bred, I am delighted to be a part of the Leftbank project,” said soundtrack contributor ANDY MCCLUSKEY, who has composed a piece which responds to Birkenhead’s iconic ventilation tower. “It’s a really exciting challenge to create a musical piece for it. I stood next to the tower doors in early July and recorded the sound of the wind whistling through them. These recordings became my inspiration and bed track for the music. For those who are curious, the tower whistles in the key of A.”
Andy is joined by a roll call of high-profile artists who have produced music with the sights and sounds of Birkenhead as their muse. Those donning headphones to take in the tour with the Leftbank Soundtrack augmenting their experience will hear pieces by LOUISA ROACH (SHE DREW THE GUN), FOREST SWORDS, NIGEL BLACKWELL (HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT), BILL RYDER-JONES, MADELINE HALL (MT HALL) and ANDY HUNT (OUTFIT, DIALECT).
A QR Code will take the sonic explorer to a piece of commissioned music, telling the story of the spot they are standing in. There are seven stops on the excursion, with Hamilton Square, the Ventilation Tower, Ferry Terminal, Birkenhead Priory and Cammell Laird, Futureyard and Argyle Street, St Werburgh’s Square and Birkenhead Central all providing a plethora of history and inspiration. Listen, walk, think and reflect.
Read our interview with Andy McCluskey here.