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Published on July 21st, 2019 | by The Town Crier


The Big Record

By Carolyn Gray

On Sunday 26th May musician, sound artist, producer, singer, songwriter and cyclist Paul Cheese set off on an epic 3,500 mile cycle tour of the UK. Paul’s based locally, and can be found at The Granary Studios in Lamberhurst – when he’s not on tour…

Supported by Arts Council England, BBC Local Radio, Shure Microphones, Whyte Bikes and The Forum Tunbridge Wells, this project –  The Big Record:UK – will create a music track composed of sounds captured from people, places and extraordinary recording locations throughout the UK.

The tour follows on from several other sound art projects. Paul has already made two albums from cycle tours of the UK and mainland Europe. In 2017 he worked with BBC Radio Kent to capture The Sound of Kent. He asked people to send him their special everyday sounds, and he ran pop up studios, including one in Tunbridge Wells Museum for Unfest 17. The finished result can be found on his YouTube page as “What does Kent Sound Like?”, and includes zumba classes, bell ringers, Morris dancers…  He followed on from that with a sound project at Folkestone Art Triennial, on the harbour arm, in November 2017.

In 2018 he decided his third solo album would see each track made on one epic cycling mission. The first was “25 Forums” to mark the 25th anniversary of The Forum, Tunbridge Wells. Paul cycled around the classical world looking for ancient Forums, many of which had 3 arched doorways like the building in Tunbridge Wells. He recorded sounds on his way, and sent back videos and photos via social media for everyone to follow his journey. I’m quite sure there were enough adventures, from punctures to shops closed for Greek Orthodox Easter, to write one of those glossy coffee table books… if only he had time.

Because almost as soon as he was back in the UK Paul was off again. Having been a TEDx speaker in Tunbridge Wells in 2017, in September 2018 Paul was a guest speaker in Belgium at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, talking about cycling, tourism and music. Work then began on collecting sponsors for The Big Record:UK . Having been a regular sound artist on the Dominic King show on BBC Radio Kent, part of this UK tour includes visiting every regional BBC Studio for a chat, and to collect some local tips on interesting sounds and locations.

The Big Record:UK started in Folkestone, and on Monday 27th May, Paul’s second day included a visit to The Forum for Unfest 19, and we all waved him on his way – after a meeting with The Town Crier and The Dipper from the chalybeate spring. There have been daily videos of the cycle route plus the people and places along the way.. Paul is due back in Kent in mid August. If anyone has any ideas for his homeward leg, full info can be found on these two websites: thebigrecord.com and paulcheesemusic.com

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