Barry Adamson’s 1989 debut album, Moss Side Story is a soundtrack in “four acts” for a non-existent crime film taking place in some gritty, urban Manchester wasteland. It presents a complex aural soundscape full of minimalistic instrumentation layered over industrial sound effects and snippets of barely perceptible dialogue, footsteps, sobbing, and newscasts. Sometimes it swings with a decadent burlesque swagger. Sometimes it creeps along like a shadowy suspect in a desolate alley. Apparently Adamson recorded this album with the intent of producing an instrumental “calling card” that would garner him the attention of film producers looking for someone to score their next murder mystery. Evidently his tactic payed off because his next release was indeed a soundtrack for Delusion, a Nietzschean crime thriller about an embezzler driving through the Nevada desert who picks up a Las Vegas showgirl and her psychotic boyfriend after their vehicle crashes. Perfect, right?
Moss Side Story is a collection of music that transports your imagination first, and then asks for your hips to follow. It's full of disquieting ambient music, avant-garde and big band jazz, and even two covers: a slinky, syrupy arrangement of Elmer Bernstein’s “The Man With the Golden Arm” (from the Otto Preminger film of the same name starring Frank Sinatra), and a spooky, echo-laden version of the theme from “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” One of those tracks would probably be the obvious choice to share — but I pride myself in avoiding the obvious, which is why “The Swinging Detective” from Act Two: ‘Real Deep Cool’ is the second Happy Medium Song of the Day from Barry Adamson. (Please use the comments box to share your thoughts.)