Richard J Birkin soundtrack for new Radio 4 drama series

Derby composer and musician Richard J Birkin will have music from his 2016 album Vigils featured in a new Radio 4 drama series The Reservoir Tapes.

The 15 part series is a prequel to Jon McGregor‘s novel Reservoir 13 and is set in the Peak District. Broadcasting at 7.45pm each Sunday night the story is read by Indira Varma (Game of Thrones) and the first episode is available on iPlayer now.

Reviewing Vigils for Louder Than War magazine Storge editor Sarah Lay awarded it a solid 9/10 and said: “There is a loneliness resonating through the sparse and haunting opening track of Richard J Birkin’s Vigils and into the album beyond. This is a record managing to elicit intense solitude and yet also exceptional emotional unity, all the more remarkable for doing it simply and often with scant composition.

“It is in track Moonbathing that the album is best encapsulated. Across six minutes the track splits into two, the first part a wraith of instrumentation wrapping around you before layered vocals in the second half build into a ghostly modern lullaby.

“Elsewhere a music box mechanically plays behind the deep dark of strings, piano notes echo, a guitar tumbles over its own warm notes; and you feel the pull in your chest as you are consumed by this beautiful, this astonishing, record.”

Reservoir 13 was published by Fourth Estate this year and was long listed for the Man Booker Prize. The fourth novel by the writer, who lives in Nottingham, it is described as: “An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger’s tragedy refuse to subside.”

Find The Reservoir Tapes on iPlayer.

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