Basil Kirchin 'Assignment Kirchin - Two Unreleased Scores From the Kirchin Tape Archive' LP
Two sublime unreleased scores from Basil Kirchin.
Assignment K (with lots of pencil scribbles everywhere). The Strange Affair (with lots of pen scribbles everywhere).
As usual with Basil tapes / things there is little else to go on, no tracklist, no list of musicians, no singer names, no dates or anything. I have actually tried to establish the name of the singer on the song from Side One (we have called it “Love Is To Walk Away “ as it is unnamed) but having played it to a handful of knowledgeable collectors and enthusiasts who I would count as experts in this field, no one has a clue who it might be. If you think you know please get in touch. We know who it isn’t.
We can tell you that Assignment K dates from 1968, was a film about a toy maker who has a double life as an international spy. It was directed by Val Guest, who’d just finished trying to rescue the cinematic hotchpotch that was Casino Royale - he had been brought in by the Bond producers after Peter Sellers had walked off the movie. We imagine Assignment K may have been a slightly less stressful few months of shooting. As for the Kirchin score that we have here, we can tell you very little indeed, apart from the fact that the bass player was Ron Prentice (an ex blacksmith turned musician and craftsman) who worked on several Bond scores, but we know little else. And we only know this because it says so in the academic tome “Jazz On The Screen” by David Meeker.
The Strange Affair is also from 1968, and was not only controversial but also a reasonably unsuccessful movie. Directed by David Greene who also directed, amongst other films, I Start Counting and the quite brilliant Sebastian. In this rather grubby flick a policeman called Peter Strange (played by Michael York) falls for an underage girl (played by Susan George), finds himself compromised by a pair of pornographers and gets lured into an errand for a smack gang. We can tell you little else because I have no more information about it all.
But we do know that this music has all the classic Kirchin mid-period sonic hallmarks that have always set him apart.