Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Very Warped History 8: 2000 (2 Of 2)

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The year is 2000, Warp moves from it's hometown of Sheffield to the big old city of London. Broadcast were signed in 1997 and are integral in the history of Warp, as it marks the beginning of the label shedding it's exclusively electronic image and eventually gaining the varied lineup it has today. In 2000 they would release their debut album: The Noise Made By People. Broadcast are quite a bit different to anything we've heard so far, They draw heavily from 60's psychedelica; merging the sound of a conventional band with electronic effects and lead singer Trish Keenan's era-influenced vocals.

I'll be honest, I don't have a lot to say about this album as a whole. Not because it's a bad album, but because every track is so brilliantly produced and the sound so realised that I think (as cliché as it sounds) the music speaks for itself. Broadcast as a whole are criminally underrated, I suppose that goes with the whole "Psychedelic" territory but I digress, check out my selection below and see for yourself.

Note: The original version of this post was much shorter, upon returning to republish it (2017) I am also writing a little more about my relationship with the album which I was a little uncomfortable with at the time.

Broadcast came into my collection at a turbulent time in my life, and I can relate to Keenan's lyrical accompaniment here (and even more on the preceding compilation Work And Non Work). There's always an underlying current of melancholy running throughout their work despite the upbeat nature of the albums sound.

Echo's Answer, my next pick, immediately betrays what I've just said and takes an outright downbeat turn. Echo's Answer holds a special place in my heart too, it resonates incredibly well with me, as mentioned I was in an incredibly rough patch at the time, and (to me at least) Echo's Answer reminds you that there's always time. What things may come, there's always time, and everything will be alright.

Leaving the sentimentality behind for a moment, Papercuts is one of the spots on the album where Trish really shines. Granted I love her voice on pretty much every Broadcast record, but her delivery on Papercuts injects it with a certain passion that makes the whole experience that much more complete, and if I had to guess I think there's a certain element of writing from life there too.

In addition to the main few above, Look Outside is one that I use to introduce the album to folks I'm recommending it to, it's a nice encapsulation of the album's overall sound and feel, and strikes a nice balance between Trish and the instrumental side of things much, which makes the whole thing a lot more accessible to the newcomer.

Until Then plays out almost like a sequel to Echo's Answer in structure and tone. Albeit where Echo's Answer had that slightly bittersweet uplifting tinge to it, Until Then doesn't mince words and dwells frmly in downtempo territory. They do it well mind, an they downtempo moments do serve as a nice contrast to the remainder of the album, and they're well placed if you're listening to the album continuously, with Echo's Answer clocking in at track 5 and Until Then at 10.

City In Progress continues the trend of the album's overarching sound, but with some interesting additions in cadence from Trish that will come into play in later Broadcast projects. As their first go at a cohesive album rather than a compilation of past singles like Work And Non-Work was, it's very successful, covering a nice amount of ground, setting a specific sound while still leaving room for experimentation and refinement.

It surprises me how unknown this band is, even with a recent popularity spike due to the untimely death of lead singer Trish Keenan. I hope I've introduced a few people with this post, just as I discovered them on a blog some years ago.

Answer Echo's Answer,
-Claude Van Foxbat

Friday, 4 March 2011

A Very Warped History 8: 2000 (1 Of 2)

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Slight change in plan means no Broadcast this time, instead Boards Of Canada's stepping stone release between Music Has The Right To Children and Geogaddi: the In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country EP. The tracks (like the title) are all quite long, with all but one clocking in at just over 6 minutes each and contain elements from the albums that came before and after it; incorporating references to David Koresh and the Branch Davidians from Geogaddi while keeping the sounds from Music Has...

The first track, Kid For Today, is the best parts of the previous album condensed into one track, their now trademark trip hop beats combined with the synths from Olson and Turquoise Hexagon Sun. Absolutley perfect opening track and, like the rest of the EP, is also an excellent starting point if you're just discovering BoC.

On the second track things begin to get a bit minimal, this track can be spilt into just about 3 or 4 different elements, some come and go, other stay throughout the entire 6 minutes. While it's not one of my favourites by them, the ever so smooth synth at about 1 minute in just kills me every time.

Moving onto the title track and probably my favourite on the EP, In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country. Continuing the style set by Kid For Today it's another conventional BoC track, and a decent one at that, but the (what I presume) sampled voice that comes in after the break at 1:10 transforms it from decent to fantastic. One of their best tunes.

The closing track, Zoetrope is the black sheep from this EP, it doesn't get nearly as much attention as the other three, perhaps because it's even more minimal than Amo Bishop Roden, consisting of no beats and a single melody that slowly and subtly changes throughout. Fun Fact: Radiohead apparently sometimes play Zoetrope to the crowd before they come out on stage.

Sorry for the change in scheduling, not only have I had a ton of schoolwork dumped on me this week, I'm finding it really difficult to write about the tracks from Broadcast's debut album, to the point where I'm considering writing a brief summary and just posting the tracks.

Like Stepping Stones,
-Claude Van Foxbat