Hear two remastered tracks below.
David Shea‘s 1993 album Prisoner found the composer turning his blend of samples and wild live improvisation towards the paranoid spy shows of the 1960s. Now it will receive a much-needed reissue from Room40, the label co-run by Lawrence English.
Named after the BBC classic The Prisoner — a TV show about a spy (Patrick McGoohan) trying to break away from the business only to end up trapped on a mysterious prison-island where every person is reduced to a number and kept in line by Rover — the silent, sentient white orb that now graces the reissue’s new artwork.
Shea and his band embrace the music of the era with jazzy, brightly psychedelic playing, but they’re never afraid to glide into sections of deep anxiety and dread — a quality, unlike some of the goofier shows of the era, that The Prisoner maintained up until its dark and frustratingly ambiguous finale. All are qualities that shine in ‘#2’ and ‘#3’ which you can stream below.
The Prisoner is out next week on May 12, head to Room40 to order and read an essay from Shea on the show and how it has influenced him.