Making a New World

The stories of a post-First World War world were brought to life last night in the Imperial War Museum on Salford Quays as part of their Making a New World season. The Mercury Prize nominated band, Field Music, played songs inspired by a graphic record of the final days of the war.

Field Music against an animated backdrop

The band put together an immersive performance, with original music played alongside animation, that illustrated stories from the end of the war.

The graphic record that inspired the event, is a document created using “sound-ranging”. This was a process used during the First World War to pin-point the direction of enemy gunfire. The record resembles the lines drawn by a seismography, as the sounds of gunshots would cause a ripple to be drawn on a piece of paper.

The Making a World season is a series of events taking place at both the Imperial War Museum North and London, showcasing a range of live music, art and photography exploring how WWI influenced today’s society.

The Lest we Forget exhibition, that has been on display at IWM North since 27 July 2018, “explores how commemoration of the First World War has endured for a century and at times sparked controversy.”

The band, founded by brotherly duo Peter and David Brewis, played on this pattern, by using animated lines that rippled to the beat of their music. Text was also projected on the walls of the museum, helping to narrate the stories they chose.

Field Music gave the audience a unique insight into the post-war world, touching on some bizarre stories that are often forgotten. The band’s lead singer, David Brewis, told Salford Now:

“We have a very odd cross-section of topics. But everything links back to something that happened in the war or immediately afterwards.

I don’t think anyone has written a disco song about the development of sanitary towels.”

The performance is unlike any the band has done before. However, David Brewis ensured that fans would not be disappointed as the new music from last night still retained their signiture sound.

“It ended up being very Field Music-y. We had initially imagined that it would be different. But what we’ve written is very much our music. I don’t think anyone that comes is going to be disappointed in that aspect of it.”

The performance, which was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum for their Making a New World season, gave a new insight into the technological and cultural developments that came from the war. The gig also explored the enormity and lasting impact of the First World War. One song conveyed the story of someone working in a German office in 2010, who had a job role of ensuring the reparations from the war were paid.

The line “money that’s longer than a memory” is sung throughout the song. The audience was brought to the realization that although the First World War seems like a distant memory, it is still having a very real impact on the world, even in recent years.

Field Music are set the showcase this performance again at the Imperial War Museum London on 31 January for their Making a New World project.

You can watch the interview with David Brewis here:


Making a New World concludes on the 31 March 2019.

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