Medi(a)eval Haze 

9 May 2008 tbs.pm/897

If you, like me, are an avid BBC Four viewer, you might have seen the extremely cool trailer for the recent Mediaeval (oh, sorry, we are spelling it the American way now, “Medieval”) Season (a not very good YouTube version is shown above).

The “Medieval Mind Trip” trailer was animated by Transistor Studios in New York, directed by James Price at Strange Beast, and produced by Red Bee Media. The music is most amusing: it’s a mediaeval-style arrangement of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, arranged by Tam Nightingale and Paul Bideau.

The musicians were as follows:

Jon Banks plays a tef – a kind of drum; Sharon Lindo appears on rebec (a violin precursor) and viol (ancestor of the cello); while Keith McGowan plays hurdy gurdy (a stringed instrument with a handle that rubs a rosined wheel against a set of strings, some drones and others playable with a kind of keyboard), shawm (ancestor of the oboe), rackett (a very deep reed instrument made by drilling holes through a cylinder and joining them up to make a long tube in a small space), and curtal (an early bassoon); and finally there’s Emma Murphy on recorders.

A better-res version of the trailer can be seen on Transistor’s web site.

You might be interested to note, however, that there are two versions of this trailer floating about, with subtle differences. If you download the MP3 file of the music from the BBC Web site, for example, you’ll notice it has an intro.

Not only that, the BBC version of the video (and the one on the Transistor web site) has something missing. Compare it with the one shown here and with the version on Tam Nightingale’s own site.

No? I’ll give you a clue. Consider the Plague.

The BBC version doesn’t have it; the Transistor version doesn’t either; the Nightingale Music version does have it and so does the Strange Beast version.

Oh, and the rather crappy YouTube version shown here has it.