Hull celebrates Basil Kirchin – but who is he?

17 February 2017

Hull is set to celebrate the life and legacy of Basil Kirchin, an experimental ‘musical genius’ who was ahead of his time.

Often labelled as “the founding father of ambient music”, Kirchin is being celebrated throughout Hull for a whole weekend during the ‘Mind on the Run’ festival.

Music journalist Richard Williams said he had a “truly original mind”. His music ranged from jazz from the late 40’s-60’s and slowly transitioned into more ambient tracks.

His later music, up until his death in 2005 was focused more on the atmosphere and emotions it could evoke in people rather than commercial success.

Old friend Tony Vincent said:

“His evolution over the years was not something I would have foreseen. At my time he played the classic American standards!”

He was so talented but genius’s like him refused to pander to the general public at their own cost. I admire greatly his principals.”


After being granted a loan to purchase a nagra tape recorder Kirchin started to create music from everything around him.

His work was featured within TV productions and movie’s throughout the 50s into the late 70’s. Kirchin’s most memorable movie soundtrack was featured in the movie The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971). The movie is being shown in Hull City Hall on the 17 Feb to kick off the weekend dedicated to tributing the life of Basil Kirchin.


The live music festival will have many events from 17-19 Feb and will be celebrating the legacy of “forgotten genius of post-war British music”. All events will be held in the City Hall.

Nova Studios of Hull will be showing a documentary of Kirchin’s life called “Mind on the Run”.

The creators of the documentary, Alan Jones and Matt Stephenson, are hoping “to introduce his work to other people and bring it to life.”

Jones stated that the documentary has only taken four months to create, but the research process took around two years.

“It all started with my colleague Matt, he came across Basil and just started digging into his life. We got really into the music and ended up researching for around two years.”

The documentary will be first revealed tomorrow, February 18, at 4.30pm, admission is free. Jones said:

“It really focuses around Basil’s life, its filled with music and unseen photographs. It will be a visual experience with lots of audio and interviews with different people that were a part of his life.”

For more information on the upcoming events at Hull City Hall and ticket prices visit the Hull 2017 website.

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