Mind on the Run

Mind On The Run, Nova Studios 45 minute documentary about the great ‘lost’ British composer Basil Kirchin, is slowly gaining cult status at festivals and in arthouse cinemas around the UK.

The film was commissioned by Hull 2017 as the springboard for the rediscovery of Kirchin’s work, which also included a festival weekend of live music including Evan Parker, the BBC Concert Orchestra, The Hidden Orchestra, Jerry Dammers, Bob Stanley, Sean O’Hagan, Matthew Bourne, Alexander Hawkins, Jonny Trunk and many others.

Basil had a remarkable life in music. Born in 1927 he was Britain’s leading jazz drummer in the post-war dance band days. In the 1960s he scored music for films including Primitive London, Catch Us If You Can, The Shuttered Room and The Abominable Dr Phibes.

Basil’s work moved into more avant garde experimentation. Brian Eno wrote that Kirchin’s two Worlds Within Worlds albums should be regarded as the foundation of ambient music: both albums were commercial flops but have subsequently come to be regarded as highly influential and ahead of their time.

Basil moved to Hull in the late 70s, and continued to work here, collaborating with friends and local musicians at Fairview Studios in Willerby, creating exciting and innovative – if unheard – work until his death in 2005.

The film and festival were the culmination of two years work for director Matt Stephenson: “Basil’s music is beautiful and challenging, really incredible stuff. And for us, as storytellers, his was a great untold Hull story – who even knew that Basil existed, let alone was creating all this amazing stuff in Hull?”

“With the support of J-Night, the University of Hull and Hull 2017, we were able to get the film commissioned and it was an incredibly rewarding project to work on.”

Mind On The Run presents the story of Basil’s life and music. Through lost audio interviews, rediscovered photos, archive footage, interviews with musicians who worked with Basil, journalists and friends, the film tells the story of a remarkable outsider artist who took a unique journey through life, staying true to his own philosophy, spirituality and creative vision.

“The thing that strikes a chord with people,” says Matt, “is that Basil stayed true to himself regardless of the difficulties and obstacles he had to overcome, and that he never gave up. It’s amazing to think that behind the net curtains of a tiny terraced house in a run-down area of Hull, there was a creative genius producing work that is now regarded as some of the most innovative and influential modern music of the 20th century.”

Mind On The Run is continuing to attract interest across the country, with recent and forthcoming screenings at Home in Manchester, Black Box Belfast, the Sage in Gateshead, the ICA in London, the Rio in Dalston and as a companion to the GoGoPenguin live performance of Koyaanisqatsi at Hull City Hall on November 18.