BBC Late Junction Sessions: "Unpopular Music"

Step away from your predictable audiophile fare and consider this double 45rpm LP set from the U.K.'s Gearbox Records of artists you've mostly never heard of playing music you've probably never heard either.

BBC Radio 3's "Late Junction" is a late night radio show that pairs people from different musical backgrounds who have never before worked together and gives them a day in the studio to come up with something collaborative. And yes, much of the material here was originally recorded to analog tape.

Nic Luscombe, one of the show's hosts assembled with Gearbox's Darrel Sheinman this 11 song collection culled from the show's archives and mastered by Sheinman and Caspar Sutton-Jones at Gearbox on a Haeco Scully lathe with Westrex RA1700 series amps, Western 3DIIA cutting head and Telefunken U73B tube limiter (plus some other stuff).

The only musicians you may have heard of are John Paul Jones, who collaborates with Erland Dahlen on "Piece No. 5" and British pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole who was paired with Norwegian fiddle player Nils Økland. I never heard of any of the others but perhaps you have.

The selection that stopped me cold was rapper-poet Kate Tempest paired with Elysian String Quartet, who achingly recites "Where the Heart Is"—a performance that's kind of a modern day "Holiday In the Sun" by The Sex Pistols. Ms. Tempest shines a light on the "no future" life of hopelessness experienced by many young people today in the United Kingdom. It's enjoyably bleak.

There are collaborations between African folk and British jazz musicians and a really unique one between organist Martin Baker, who is a Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral and songwriter, composer and producer Simon Fisher Turner who created in the cathedral vast electronic atmospheres. Germany based AGD and Gudrun Gut produced a piece about building things. The combo of vocals and electronics produce some really fun deep, room shaking bass.

All of the chosen music makes for fascinating listening and the sonics are superbly transparent and immediate. The double LP set is attractively gatefold packaged and well-pressed too. Easily found online and guaranteed to please both the music lover and audio enthusiast you are.