Eighty Bells gets an airing, and is accidentally festive

The soundtrack to photographer Steve Hollingshead’s latest photographic exhibition saw Momo back on whimsical form in the autumn, and a new promotional mix of its main theme sort of delivers you to Christmas.

Around the City in 80 Festivals was first aired in August as part of Potters Fields Park summer events during the fun of the Olympics in London. A half hour giant screening of Steve Hollingshead’s monochrome portraits of a city in celebration throughout the year, the project featured an original score by Momo:tempo – which culminated in the main theme of Eighty Bells.


As Momo’s Mr Peach says, it was more like the beginning to an evolving project. “Scoring a solid half hour of screen time is a production challenge on a budget, and the end result for the first event felt like a great experiment,” he explains. “I think there’s loads we could do to develop it for future incarnations, but the main tune did seem instantly infectious and likeable – even if I couldn’t afford a brass band, a string section and a marching host of world instrumentalists this time.”

First shown on a giant screen on London’s South Bank, outside the Mayor of London’s offices by Tower Bridge, Around the city wasn’t Hollingshead and Peach’s first collaboration.

“I’ve followed Steve’s work for years, it’s so wonderfully charming. It makes you see city life very differently, very humanly. And our first work together on his project The London Wall threw up everyone’s favourite Momo track, Metrophilia” says Timo. “So Eighty Bells is a kind of spiritual sibling to that much-loved piece. It’s in a very similar emotional space. Maybe others won’t hear it, but it swells the ol’ bosom for me.”

A five-minute edit of the thirty-minute original, Eighty Bells is re-interpreted with voice-over. “It just seemed a nice and naturally Momo way to bring alive a single version” Timo says. “It’s an oddity, the structure of the tune like this, but it also seems, I think, immediately single-minded, a pleasingly clear idea.”

And is it the closest Momo will get to a Christmas single?”

“Maybe next year,” Timo nods sagely. “By the end, I suddenly realised the whole point of the tune seems to be to deliver you to the Yuletide and it naturally wanted to sound all bells and tinkles. If Christmas’ positive hopes are really about finding a sense of family, acceptance, peace – ironically for all of us at some point during the season’s chaos, obviously – then seeing the end of the year in the context of all the other reasons to celebrate throughout the calendar sort of adds to that family feel, I think. I’m undoubtedly over thinking this, but I’m a sentimental boob when given five minutes alone.”

To find out more about Steve Hollingshead, check out takingthepics.com

You can find Eighty Bells on Soundcloud too.

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