This is the story behind the musical piece I called ‘Spiral’ that launched my career.
It was 1977 and I was rather disillusioned with life when I decided to rent a cottage near the remote Welsh village of Llanrhaedr Ym Mochnant to spend the winter recording a piece of music that had been pulling at my heart strings for some time. It was based on a chord sequence that had emerged from some work I had been doing with a friend on the I Ching.
We had come up with a way of relating the hexagrams to the chromatic scale and I wanted to see if this would translate into music that had listenable value…In other words…. sounded harmonious and melodic. The cottage was situated about a mile away from a waterfall that cascaded off the mountains and from which I received much inspiration over the cold winter months.
I have always been fascinated by the spiral form which seems to rise and fall to infinity in both directions and it seemed to me that sound has that same shape and quality although there is a point at which it disappears from the range of human hearing in both directions..up and down. So anyway I settled in …determined to give it my best shot .. Coincidentally it was here that I first began to experiment with Nature recordings and subsequently began to incorporate these into my music.
Anyway to cut a long story short I left the winter cottage with a recording that was used a few weeks later to produce about a dozen audio cassettes…this was still the pre digital era.. which I sent to various random record labels and Film/TV companies to see if there would be any interest … Nothing happened !!.. So I returned to the Greek Island of Hydra where I had first discovered the flute some years earlier…But that’s a different story … After a couple of months os settling back into a quiet life there I received a telegram addressed to Terry Oldfield…Poste Restante..Hydra Greece…How they got my address is still a mystery..Anyway it was from the BBC who had come across one of my cassettes and there was an invitation to compose the music for “Great Railway Journeys of the World” which was my first commission in the music world.. I went on to write the music for over 80 TV productions and received 2 Emmy and 1 Bafta nomination for best music.
Here is a link to the original demo of Spiral that was recorded in that old Welsh Farmhouse in the winter of 1978…The sound quality is poor but it was enough to start the musical ball rolling for me ………… SPIRAL..The music that launched my career