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)