Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Friday 13 March 2020


I thought this piece of music might be good to bring things home this week and round off a week of excursions into a largely ambient, instrumental world. Penguin Cafe Orchestra's Music For A Found Harmonium was recorded in 1984, the work of PCO founder Simon Jeffes who found a harmonium on a pile of rubbish and bits of wood in Kyoto, Japan while on tour there with his avant- pop- folk ensemble. He took the instrument to a friend's home and wrote the music. It came to wider attention when it was featured on 1994's Cafe del Mar compilation, a double vinyl record with tracks chosen by legendary Ibizan DJ Jose Padilla. The harmonium and the repetitive tune sounded perfect next to the ambient house and down tempo dance music of the first half of the 90s. This song is one of the sounds that immediately reminds me of the flat I lived in for a couple of years near Altrincham c.1994.

Music For A Found Harmonium

The Orb remixed it and their version, with found sounds, tabla and a dubby ambient haze, appeared on a Penguin Cafe Orchestra primer called Preludes, Airs and Yodels in 1996 and an Orb remix compilation (Auntie Aubrey's Excursions Beyond the Call Of Duty Volume 2). The original music is so simple and so strong I think it could probably be reworked and remixed in all sorts of ways and guises without suffering.



drew said...

Never heard the Orb mix before.
One thing, I thought it of Jose Padilla that compiled the Cafe Del Mar comps

Adam Turner said...

Yep, you're right.