BBC Radio 3 has reputation of being all about “classical” music. Y’know, orchestral stuff, primarily written by dead blokes.
Of course, there’s quite a bit of that on the station but it’s shows such as Mixing It that attract me. Each Friday night it features the weird and the wonderful, doing a far better job of showcasing new music than Radio 1 could ever hope to.
I can imagine being 15 and listening to it in the dark, on headphones, and filling with wonder as the strange, yet very listenable, music hinted at different ways of thinking.
Instead, I tend to fit it in when I can, using whilst working at a PC, during daylight and over the internet.
A couple of years ago, Mixing It dedicated a show to experimental music from Leeds. The outstanding act, for me, was Slate Pipe Banjo Draggers. Rich, evocative and melodic soundscapes are drawn from found sound and simple instruments – a Bontempi organ makes an appearance.
There’s a subtlety and inventiveness to Slate Pipe’s music that is, needless to say, rare. While commercial radio weighs heavy under yet another lank-haired guitar band strumming the same minor chords, Slate Pipe and co are feeding the imaginations of those lucky enough to find them.