Basil Kirchin (August 8, 1927 - June 18, 2005) was a British drummer and composer known for his diverse career in music. From playing drums in his father's Big Band at the age of 13 to scoring films, Kirchin's musical journey led him to experiment with manipulating recorded sounds, earning him the title "the father of ambient music".
Starting off as a drummer in his father Ivor's popular dance band, Kirchin quickly made a name for himself. He played with renowned artists such as Billy Eckstein and Sarah Vaughan, backing them during their tours in Britain. The success of the Kirchin Band led to recordings with Decca and Parlophone under the production of George Martin.
However, Kirchin felt constrained by playing other people's music and decided to explore new horizons. He ventured into India and spent time at the Ramakrishna Temple before moving to Sydney. Unfortunately, all his possessions, including recordings of the Kirchin band, were lost at sea during transportation.
Returning to Britain in 1961, Kirchin delved into experimental compositions and produced material for the De Wolfe library. His passion for collecting ambient sounds led him to record animal noises at London Zoo and even capture the voices of autistic children. By slowing down these recordings, he uncovered hidden harmonics that had never been heard before by human ears.