Music & Visions – projects selected by Stefano Santoni + ThePT
Song for Insane Times, from Joy of a Toy, debut solo album of Kevin Ayers, a founding member of Soft Machine. Released: November 1969 – Recorded: 17 June/11 September 1969; Abbey Road Studios, London – Label: Harvest – Producer: Kevin Ayers & Peter Jenner.
Kevin Ayers (16 August 1944 – 18 February 2013) was an English singer-songwriter and a major influential force in the English psychedelic movement. Ayers was a founding member of the pioneering psychedelic band Soft Machine in the mid-1960s, and was closely associated with the Canterbury scene. He recorded a series of albums as a solo artist and over the years worked with Brian Eno, Syd Barrett, Bridget St John, John Cale, Elton John, Robert Wyatt, Andy Summers, Mike Oldfield, Nico and Ollie Halsall, among others. After living for many years in Deià, Majorca, he returned to the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s before moving to the south of France. His last album was The Unfairground, recorded in New York City, Tucson, and London in 2006. The British rock journalist Nick Kent wrote: “Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett were the two most important people in British pop music. Everything that came after came from them.”
Ayers was born in Herne Bay, Kent, the son of BBC producer Rowan Ayers. Following his parents’ divorce and his mother’s subsequent marriage to a British civil servant, Ayers spent most of his childhood in Malaya. The tropical atmosphere and unpressured lifestyle had an impact, and one of the frustrating and endearing aspects of Ayers’ career is that every time he seemed on the point of success, he would take off for some sunny spot where good wine and food were easily found.
Ayers returned to England at the age of twelve. In his early college years he took up with the burgeoning musicians’ scene in the Canterbury area. He was quickly drafted into the Wilde Flowers, a band that featured Robert Wyatt and Hugh Hopper, as well as future members of Caravan. Ayers stated in interviews that the primary reason he was asked to join was that he probably had the longest hair. However, this prompted him to start writing songs and singing. more on wikipedia
(December 24, 1947 – December 5, 2016)
“Rodney Smith is a modest man. With eclectic sensibilities. He ca wear an ascot without appearing pretentious. He proclaims himself to be a closet optimist. He believes Modermism took a wrong turn at the wrong time. He thinks Freud saved his life. He graduated Yale. He lives in a wooded enclave in Snedens Landing, just close enough to Manhattan to meet an editor for lunch at a moment’s notice, but far enough away to mollify his disdain for city living. He loves books. Paper. And printed matter. He wrestles with Big Ideas and references Wittgenstein and Plato as if he saw them just yesterday. He’s tweedy. Never needy. Proud. Not loud. He’s a perfectionist. Workaholic. Worry wart and fuss budget. He won’t stop what he’s doing until he’s satisfied that it couldn’t be done any better. He’s adamantly analog. Only shoots film. Never uses special effects. And knows the darkroom like the back of his hand. His work is outside of time. He creates worlds whose logic in his own. He’s old school with a twist. A landscape photographer. Who places people in landscapes. A realist who puts dreams onto paper. A man who is kind, generous and humorous. Who has a great wife. A lovely daughter. A successful son who’s made Rodney a proud grandfather. A thinking man’s man in a bespoke suit with an eye that sees the world in a way you or I will only see it if it’s in the form of one of his photographs.”