Watch: Public Service Broadcasting – “Elfstedentocht” Pts 1 & 2

30 Oct

PSB Elfstedenocht

Is there no stopping those fine gentlemen from Public Service Broadcasting? They are relentless; touring constantly, releasing singles as well as their debut album, filming videos in the freezing cold, generally being awesome and gathering plaudits wherever they go (which is pretty much everywhere). We reckon you could solve the UK’s current energy problems just by plonking Messer’s Willgoose, Esq. and Wigglesworth on a tandem and hooking them up to the national grid. They’d be able to power the country for at least a year without breaking a sweat.

Further proof of their inability to stop comes in the form of two brand new tracks that the corduroy clad pair have been teasing fans about over the last few weeks. They did say no one would guess the subject matter and they were right, we don’t think anyone even got close to a cross-city speed skating race in the Netherlands.

No, seriously.

The duo were approached by the organisers of the Explore the North festival in Leeuwarden, Netherlands who asked if they would like to use some footage of the Elfstedentocht, the world’s biggest ice skating race, and write some songs. Naturally they said yes.

“Elfstedentocht” parts 1 and 2 are about an occasional speed skating event, , that takes place in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands, passing by all eleven historical cities of the province. The Eleven Cities Tour, to give it its English name, is a 120 mile long tour which is held both as a speed skating match (with 300 contestants) and a leisure tour (with 16,000 skaters). It’s held no more than once a year and gaps between contests can exceed 20 years as it all depends on the thickness of the ice (the entire course must have natural ice at least 15 centimetres thick). When the ice is suitable the tour is announced and started within 48 hours. (Thank you Wikipedia)

Oh, and the sampled audio clips are in Dutch, obviously, and each track captures a different aspect of the event. Transcripts of the commentary are included in the videos description on YouTube by the way – so you don’t need to go and learn Dutch to get the full experience.

“Elfstedentocht Part One” is a the closest thing we’ve had to a full on rock track from PSB so far, with a guitar line that channels Rage Against The Machine, if Rage wore a smoking jacket, monocle, pipe and slippers combo of course. A monochrome gem of energy, collisions, speed, snow and cups of tea (very PSB we think you’ll agree) that blends the grandeur of “Everest”, “Signal 30″‘s rocket fuelled aggression and the vibrant optimism of “Spitfire”.

“Elfstedentocht Part Two” on the other hand is a more relaxed and mostly ambient electro track. Wintry colours fill the air as the track matches the vast expanse of white all around, seemingly infinite like the universe around us. There is an ‘other worldly’ quality to it as the sounds expand, you could just as easily be travelling through the majestic beauty of the cosmos as gliding serenely along a path of ice through snow-laden countryside. It’s calmer, more tranquil and relaxed than its high octane brother, but equally as fantastic.

We may not have been able to guess the subject matter in advance, but we were spot on with the quality of the tracks. Both of which convey the spirit, sportsmanship and competiveness of this enchanting and eccentric winter event perfectly. Wonderful stuff, as always Gents.

’Inform – Educate – Entertain’ is out now and can be bought digitally here or on CD/Vinyl here.

You can also catch a Public Service Broadcasting live transmission at a venue near you as their never-ending gig schedule continues.

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