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G Spots

The Studio G retrospective gives Jonny Trunk a chance to reflect on the bizarre goings on of John Gale’s weird world of music and crazy inspirations.

While everyone else in the 60s and 70s was busy dancing to The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, John Gale could be found throwing shapes to TV advert soundtracks. But most of them just weren’t weird enough, so he bought an office on Wardour Street and created Studio G, a place where directors and producers could come for the weirdest spaced out folk electro horror sounds. Recording 48 albums in total, Studio G has since become a sample treasure trove with acts like The Chemical Brothers and UNKLE digging through its vaults for inspiration. Dazed Digital spoke to library music connoisseur Jonny Trunk, who is about to release G Spots, a Studio G retrospective, about the impact of Gale’s sound factory.

Dazed Digital: How did you first become aware of Studio G and John Gale?
Jonny Trunk: In the early 1990s I remember seeing the Studio G album "Beat Group" on the wall of Standout / 101 in Notting Hill. It looked odd and expensive. I asked questions about it, and started digging around for more info. Very little was about. In fact very little of the Studio G albums ever seemed to be about. Eventually when I was producing the Library Book I rang John Gale to get his permission to use his old artwork. Because the albums are so scarce I thought it would be a good idea to compile some of them together. John Gale was up for it. He's a great guy.

DD: Why release G Spots now?
JT: I would have released it last year but I couldn't crack the artwork. Now it's out I think the timing is accidentally quite good, as the later 70s and early 80s sounds produced by the library are quite relevant, even fashionable to the modern ears of today. Having just said that I might be completely wrong. But I get the impression lots of people are listening to and getting excited by electro sounds from this period. I just found out that the Tomorrow's World theme from the 1980s had just been issued as an edit, so there must be something going on.

DD: What are the key elements of the Studio G sound?
JT: Stripped back sounds… simple, effective, quite weird and bordering on stylishly amateur at times. There's also this one-man-electronic-band thing going on. A "less is more" method seems to be at the heart of it all.

DD: What does he think of your selection?
JT: He was quite surprised that I chose parts of the catalogue that he had not revisited for many years. He originally told me he'd got new digital masters for everything, and when I send him the tracklisting for the album he realised he'd got just about everything remastered apart from the all tracks I'd chosen.

DD: What is the weirdest piece of Studio G music?
JT: A lot of it is strange - with weird ideas like mixing folk guitar with ghostly noises or using heavy delay and echo. But the most unusual cue for me is "Visions Of 2000AD 4", mainly because of the warped laughing voice punctuating all the electronics. It's unsettling, especially if you are listening in the dark. I do love tracks with a miserable view of the future.

DD: Studio G is still going - how has their sound changed?
JT: It hasn't changed at all - I think the library has just stuck to the same old 40 albums, and hasn't had to make any more. They managed to produce albums that didn't really follow any fashions or contemporary styles, and as a result they all sound strangely timeless and are still very usable today - especially the horror recordings they made.

DD: Will this appeal to everyone?
JT: Yes, everyone who wants or dares to listen to it.

DD: Name your top 5 TV shows that used Studio G tracks
1.    The Darts.
2.    The Snooker.
3.    Vision On.
4.    Double agent 72 (starring Chesty Morgan).
5.    Dr Who.

G-Spots will be released by Trunk Records in March.