Architecturally less imposing than St Paul’s or Westminster Abbey on the north of the Thames, Southwark has only been a cathedral since 1905, and was formerly simply the Parish Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie (‘over the water’). The site itself has been a place of Christian worship for over 1,000 years, and from 1106 until 1538 was part of an Augustinian priory. The present building retains the basic form of the Gothic structures that were built between 1220 and 1420, although the nave was rebuilt (twice) in 19th century after the church had fallen into disrepair. A railway viaduct connecting London Bridge to stations north of the river passes just 18 metres from the southeast corner of the cathedral, blocking the view from the south side. This was a compromise when the railway was extended in 1852; the alternative being to demolish the building completely to enable a more direct passage for the line. The church was again threatened during heavy bombardment of the area during World War II and shrapnel damage is still visible on the exterior walls of the building.
Lossy x Salmon Youth Centre
Lossy, aka Sam Sharp, is a composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist based in Hackney. Having grown up playing saxophone, he studied classical music at Leeds, then gained a Masters degree in jazz from the Guildhall School, London, in the mid-2000s. Since this time, he has immersed himself in electronic music, building up a formidable arsenal of instruments and equipment. Equally happy working as a traditional composer and arranger as he is in the realms of dance music, Lossy is always at the forefront of technology. His live performances combine innovative controllers, electronics, traditional acoustic instruments and looping gear, enabling him to improvise and compose on the fly. Lossy has released on the labels Tru Thoughts, Tessier Ashpool, Two Rivers, and his own Boot Cycle Audio. He has also been a session and touring musician with, among others, Hollie McNish, Oscilliard, Augustines, Phil Selway (Radiohead), Beverley Knight, Visage and Ben Taylor, as well as collaborating and remixing with Roska, Nu:Tone, Laura Mvula and Stephen Crowe.
For his Musicity track Lossy teamed up with young people from Bermondsey's Salmon Youth Centre to create elements of the soundtrack.
I'm delighted to present my track inspired by Southwark Cathedral which was produced in collaboration with the Salmon Youth Centre. I initially visited the cathedral to soak it all up, read up a little on the history and took a few photos to get the creative juices going - one thing immediately clear to me was how the space was a microcosm of Southwark and indeed London in general, an area of change and contrasts in constant shift. I had met up with the youth leaders at the Salmon Youth Centre who we very generous with their time and energy and gave me a tour of the facilities, which were much more expansive and well equipped than I had imagined, a hugely impressive operation. We all agreed we wanted something uplifting and hopeful from the collaboration, something that put their part of London in a positive light and would involve some contributions from the young people too.
I began work on the track in the studio in parallel with the centre leaders recording some interviews / poems with the children, along with some percussion recordings which I then added to with a studio session in person - recording the young people at the centre later down the line. Whilst I couldn't find a place for the actual audio from their words in the end within the final track, I used their content to inspire the friendliness, positivity of the initial harmony and beat, and hope the scale of their ambitions is matched by the grander nature of the break-down section during which you can hear their percussion performances.
I also mangled and chopped up portions of the their percussion hits for the main beat of the work too, helping keep the energy and flow of the rhythms bubbling along throughout.For the journey of the track I imagined a trip on foot coming in from the hustle and bustle of the nearby Borough Market through the side entrance and then being hit by the view of the cathedral with shard in the background. We then take a pause in the grounds as the beat comes in and the positivity and sanctity of the space washes over us, before heading on in as the organ harmony changes to reflect the scale and initial impact of the awesome internal structure. We then find our way around the cathedral as the track heads into the breakdown, as more and more beautiful regions of hall reveal themselves, culminating in a held organ chord as we stand face to face with the Diamond Jubilee Window by Leifur Breidfjord, which caught me in a trance on my first visit.
Then as the beat builds once more we head outwards into the sunny morning I found myself in on one of my visits, full of positivity and hope, enjoying the knowledge that our future is in safe hands if the children of the Salmon Youth Centre are anything to go by.