How My Spare Room Became a 'Musical Time Machine'!

The ongoing story, of how my humble spare room, literally overnight, on a dull February evening in 2008, became what is now, an increasingly global, 'Musical Time Machine'!

Little did I think, that the rough audio from a 'live' video I recorded in my spare room one dull February evening in 2008, (as well as the studio recordings I released in my albums which were eventually inspired by it), would be featured in the Daily Mail, used in support of international museum exhibitions in Ontario and Chicago, appear in a host of hallowed academic web blogs, Fox News, Classic FM, BBC Radio 4, India TV News, National Geographic Magazine, featured as a prelude to a new album by the Nevada Death Metal Band "Blasphemous Creation" and even in a blog in the mainstream rock and pop NME magazine!!!

The original 2008 video featured a grainy, 'live' from my spare room performance of my own arrangement of Dr Richard Dumbrill's interpretation of the 3400 year old Hurrian Hymn from Ugarit as notated on the website of Clint Goss - the oldest known written melody, so far discovered, in history....authentically recorded with quite possibly, what might have been the world's oldest webcam known to mankind!

When I noticed that this was getting quite a few views, (in my effort to also spare the YouTube viewers the not-so aesthetically pleasing, decidedly 'lo-res' view of my spare room in which this now epic 'Lo-Fi Legend of the Early Music Scene' was recorded in!), in 2009, I decided to upload a new 'slideshow' style presentation, featuring snapshots of the world at around 1400 BC, to accompany the original live audio:

Interest in my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn steadily grew, which inspired me to record some much better quality studio versions of it which featured in some of my independently released albums - these now include the first version on my 2009 release, "An Ancient Lyre", a remastered version of the same recording on my 2011 compilation album "Ancient Landscapes" (now featuring reverb authentically sampled from ancient Iranian caves!) and a new arrangement in the wonderfully pure just intonation of antiquity, on my 2013 compilation album, "Musical Adventures in Time Travel".

As interest in some of these recordings grew, the creator of another YouTube channel then asked to feature a new animated-style video with the version of the Hurrian Hymn I recorded on my 2011 compilation album, "Ancient Landscapes":

Very soon things began to go viral! A few years ago, the creator of another YouTube channel contacted me, and with my permission (in my efforts for yet more free publicity for my lyre music mission), he put together his own slideshow to my original audio...which now has over 6 million views:

...Roll over, Bieber! Who needs 'viral' Vevo video promotion now!!!

In 2013, I began to receive international attention from museums the other side of the Atlantic, who wished to use my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn in support of their new exhibitions!

First, I was contacted by the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, who wished to use the version of the Hurrian Hymn I recorded on my 2013 compilation album, "Musical Adventures in Time Travel", in support of a new exhibition, "Mesopotamia", then in 2014, I was contacted by the Museum of the Oriental Institute of Chicago, who wished to use the version of the Hurrian Hymn I had recorded on my 2011 compilation album, "Ancient Landscapes", in support of their exhibition, "In Remembrance of Me: Feasting with the Dead in the Ancient Middle East"

Later on in 2014, I was contacted by the Nevada Death Metal Band, "Blasphemous Creation"!  Blasphemous Creation is a death/thrash metal band formed in early 2006 in Reno, NV. Their music and lyrics are dedicated to ancient alien theory...

In an effort to literally bring to life the ancient world theme to the album, they wanted to feature a sample of my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn on my 2009 album "An Ancient Lyre", as the prelude to their new album, "The Rise of Marduk" - quite possibly  the world's first 'Bronze Age/Death Metal Fusion"!

In early 2016, I was shocked to stumble across a sample of my original YouTube 'live' version of the Hurrian Hymn used (annoyingly without my prior consent or any credits!), by the half-Mauritian, half-British music producer, percussionist, and vocalist, Mo Kolours, in a rap track he called "Sumerian Mother" , from his album "How I (Rhythm Love Affair)" :

In a similar 'Hurrian meets Hip Hop' vein, I was more recently legitimately contacted by the legendary Hip Hop record producer, Tim Gomringer of CuBeatz as part of my ongoing collaboration with CuBeatz ! Tim is now also currently working on a new beat production featuring my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn from my album "An Ancient Lyre"...which if things go well, may one day find itself in a funky lyre loop in the future hits of the likes of Drake!

In July, 2016, I was contacted by a journalist from the Daily Mail Online, the the biggest online English language online news publication in the world, who wanted to feature an article on the story, featuring my YouTube slideshow version of the Hurrian Hymn! This story can be seen here.

The story was then picked up by the international Fox News Network, in their own article, which can be read here


This was just the start
- the story of my humble YouTube video and it's several offspring also then featured in another article on Newser, Nature World News in GOOD magazine, in the New Historian magazine, A Journal of Musical Things, The Vintage News and the ZME Science magazine

Presumably by divine intervention, the story soon featured in another article published in the Catholic Online Magazine!

Going increasingly global, the story of my now virtually epic 'spare room video' made into the Journal de Montreal and India TV News !

My YouTube video then literally went 'mainstream' and even featured in  a (not too flattering!) blog the in the contemporary rock and pop NME magazine!!!


The animated version of the video featuring my studio recording version of the Hurrian Hymn featured in a blog on Classic FM - roll over, Beethoven!

Going increasingly international, my video of the Hurrian Hymn popped up in an article in the National Geographic Magazine, Poland!


The BBC then contacted me, leading to a full length radio interview about my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn on the Paul Franks Show, BBC Radio WM 95.6:

I was then contacted by the Stockholm Early Music Festival, the biggest early music festival of the Nordic countries, where I presented a seminar on recreating the lyre, featuring a live international performance of the Hurrian Hymn for the festival in June 2017...

Shortly after this, I was contacted by the BBC and a clip of my arrangement of the Hurrian Hymn from my 2009 album, "An Ancient Lyre", was featured in the BBC Radio 4 series, "Something Understood":

Just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder, in 2019, someone out there actually took the trouble of putting together a semi-surreal fusion of the original rough audio of my 2008 'live from my spare room' rendition of the oldest surviving notated melody in history...with the Cat Stevens song, "Lady D' Arbanville"...

Cat Stevens ("Lady D'Arbanville") meets Michael Levy ("Hurrian Hymn" - c.1400 B.C) from Taotekid on Vimeo.

...all of this starting from that original lo-fi, ultra-compressed, grotty, grainy YouTube video, recorded 'live' in the spare room of my hundred year old house where I used to live in Salford, with nothing more 'Hi Tech' than a miserable 10 quid webcam and mono PC mic combo which I bought from the Argos Catalogue Store at Salford Precinct, circa 2002, and uploaded on my chunky, clunky old 'dinosaur desktop' at an antique turn of this century broadband 'speed' which would make a sloth seem as sleek as Usain Bolt!


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