Wednesday, April 03, 2019

On One of These Bends - Vital Weekly Review

Nice review in the latest edition of Vital Weekly of the On One of These Bends LP.

Without having read the cover notes I started playing this record and it opened with a very familiar tune. 'Bright Waves' it is called and I heard it years and years ago on one of my favourite compilation LPs, 'Perspectives And Distortion', as released by Cherry Red Records. In them days that label released some of the best alternative pop and beyond music (think Five Or Six or A Tent), unlike these days when they churn out re-heated dishes of post-punk music that you all used have got rid off and now ‘need’ to buy again (I am not a fan to those compilations; I wish Cherry Red did proper CDs of their own history, like a box of everything by Five Or Six). Anyway, 'Bright Waves', was the opening piece back then, credited to Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey, but now we know it is by Philip Sanderson, erstwhile of Storm Bugs and vocals by Nancy Slessenger. Storm Bugs, Sanderson's previous musical project, used crude tape loops and electronics, but occasionally sounded like a great moody pop band, such as on their 7" for l'Invitation Au Suicide. Following that, Sanderson got more involved in doing soundtracks for experimental films and this LP compiles several of those soundtracks. Sanderson explores electronic music here, but moving away from the noise end of the music of that time, and wanders into something that is more mellow and pop like. He experiments with various female vocalists, who add a sort of jazzy style, but there is also spoken word and humming without words. As I noted last week, without the (moving) images it is not always easy to judge the music proper, but as it is released without the images, the composer is confident enough to let the music speak for itself, and quite rightly so. There is an abundance of beauty in these pieces, as well as variation. Guitars are gently strummed, echo is in place where necessary, and so is the reverb unit and throughout Sanderson plays the vibraphone on a bunch of pieces, even when at times a bit processed. This is exactly the kind of experimental 'pop' (for the lack of a better word) that I liked as a young man and that attracted me to such labels as Cherry Red (and Glass Records, to mention another, more forgotten one); that delicate balance between experiment and something that is a 'tune'. A record like this would not have gone amiss in their 1982 catalogue, I would think. But now it's 2019 and I am very happy to see it's release and it begs the question: is there more like this and when can we hear that? 
Frans de Waard, Vital weekly, number 1177, week 14 (April 2019)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Back Projection (Remastered 2019)

In 2014 Snatch Tapes released the album Back Projection. It was something of a first in the Sanderson oeuvre in that it was only released digitally on Bandcamp without any physical format being available, and more significantly it was largely a collection of songs. Of course the first Storm Bugs EP Table Matters back in 1980 contained songs of a sort, and the second single "Tin" was very much a song, however aside from "The Bugs are Back" the post 2000 Sanderson output (Seal Pool Sounds and Hollow Gravity) had been almost completely instrumental with some spoken word. The tracks on Back Projection all started as free-form analogue synthesizer and sequencer improvisations using a long delay time to build up polymorphous patterns. With the addition of vocals and some judicious editing these tracks morphed almost accidentally into songs.

The Bandcamp/digital only release meant the release received limited attention, though Jerry Kranitz from Aural Innovations wrote a nice review using his extensive years of listening to all things Kosmiche and left field to draw out many comparisons, even commenting that the title track was "like a twisted cross between Peter Hammill and Anthony Phillips". Five years on it seemed a good time to give the material another airing, and indeed a wash and brush up by way of a subtle remastering, and in the case of "Wonder Where you Wander" a remix. The tracks have been re-ordered, and there are two bonus tracks, "Window Hill" originally on the Linear Obsessional Christmas compilation View From A Hill, and "White Van Man" something of a tongue in cheek punk track I have grown fond of. Lastly there is new cover image taken from a recent painting. Free to download for the next month. So here goes nothing...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

On One of These Bends Wire Review

In the February issue of the Wire magazine there is a nice review of On One of These Bends by Emily Bick.