wrenching brittle, litmus dub, tron’s sleeping cock: joe murray on the orbit of blue spectrum

March 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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The Blue Spectrum – Trash Sculpture Desert Skull EP (CD-r or download, Savant Tard Records, STR001)

Blue Spectrum – Live Phosphenes aka Never Again! (CD-r, Blue Spectrum, edition of 4)

Various Artists – Minimalism & Juxtaposition Vol 2 (download, Swamp Circle, SW-034)

Peer Group – Pubic Cubism (CD-r or download, Blue Spectrum)

blue spectrum - desert skull

The Blue Spectrum – Trash Sculpture Desert Skull EP

Plug this shit in … a broken digital dump of out-takes from Simon Spectrum’s enormous back catalogue.

Now I love the idea of a Spring Clean, me – “out with the old, in with the new” and all that – and yet, despite rumblings from some quarters of the underground that there’s too much stuff out there, I say a sturdy…


…I wholeheartedly disagree.  I think it’s good and right and proper to get your stuff out from yr respective bedsits and in to that big old world.  Do you make music to sit as dumb ‘ones’ and  ‘zeros’ on a hard drive?  Or are you going to give that Frankenstein shit LIFE?!

And Simon Wilson’s Blue Spectrum is pretty life affirming stuff – high pitched squeals and glassy rips; circuit-bent nonsense and the occasional environmental recording.  There’s loads of colours from  the Spectrum rainbow to delve into here but for me the stuff from ‘Glass and Bells’ and ‘Candid Tape Splicing’ is particularly immersive with a rich and clunky aftertaste that’s hard not to love.

Jad Fair’s seminal rock band Half Japanese would boast,

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like our songs or not coz another one will be along in less than a minute.

Blue Spectrum applies this ‘less is more’ philosophy with some tracks bristling with static-electrik power despite being a mere 18 seconds long. Amid the skronk and blackened noise, however, honks a moment of whimsy which arrives on the final track ‘Accidental Tape Loop’, sounds like some 7 second snatch of in-store Christmas music and becomes naggingly oppressive over its 9 minute career.  Ho Ho Ho Spectrum Go Go GO!

blue spectrum - live phosphenes never again

Blue Spectrum – Live Phosphenes aka Never Again!

Underground fabulous!  This twitchy disc is 16 minutes of classic tape loop, metallic scraping and darkly oppressive vibes with the unchanging grind being a real piece of art in itself.

Apart from slight changes in tone, tape wobble and hiss it takes over ten minutes to add any more gravy to these particular spuds.  By that time I’ve calmly finished my tax returns, washed the dog and meditated awhile so the Wu-Tang-style ‘triiiiing’ – so unexpected and polished! – that ‘sore-thumbs it’ makes my ears peak instantly into the red.

This sonic landmark ushers in more wrenching of brittle plastic and door-hinge squeak busying those bristles into the gentle fade out.  Cor … a master class in No Audience Loop-tronics.

min juxt

Various Artists – Minimalism & Juxtaposition Vol 2

A brave and clever compilation of well-medicated tracks that are not afraid to slap on the blusher and pretty it up like an underground Tigertailz.  You certainly can’t accuse this bunch of hiding behind veils of ‘none-more-black’ distortion; these electric sounds come out smelling of Snakebite and cheap hairspray.

The working method here is well worth noting.

Artists were asked to submit pieces of original minimalist experimental compositions, subjecting them to being layered with others’ submissions at someone else’s discretion. The mixing and matching, done by the label, results in new, multi-brained pieces. These pieces could not have come together in the way they did without each piece being composed in it’s own place, at it’s own time, without the knowledge of the others.

And who is the guiding hand behind this venture?  Why, it’s our old friend Justin Marc Lloyd from his Rainbow Bridge empire that’s running things proper here.  This is a real ‘must listen’ readers, you can find it on the old Bandcamp for free and it’s totally suitable for work.  Goof off!  Go on…stick it to the man.

Here’s your handy Radio Free Midwich track-by-track guide:

  1. (AN) Eel & Caucasians & Mark Bradley & Rest in Satin Silence: One channel of ambient swooning another of metallic ‘clink’ and the unmistakeable sound of bottling up (a cheeky reference for all you bar staff out there).  A spooky whisper in my right ear says “Everything is fine”…I’m not altogether convinced they are truthin’.
  2. Nyhos & Scraple Flock & August Traeger: The inner workings of those 2p machines you find at the seaside that push mountains of pennies over the edge of a drop.  No one ever wins but you don’t really care as this is soooo zonked out.
  3. Pines & Jonathon Cash & Ross Baker: Like some lost This Mortal Coil outtake.  It’s lovely as honey yet heaped with an aching loneliness as dreamt by zinc-plated grasshoppers.  Extremely classy shit!
  4. Salad with Ganesh & S.C.O.A.N: Tron’s sleeping cock!
  5. Caaldrunn & Blood Rhythms: AM Radio DJ talks over 80’s Metal compilation Leather & Lace through spiky solar interference.
  6. Fyarl & Chefkirk & Simon Magus: Coffee Table Electronics.  Heavy whiskey tumblers get all wired up and vibrated.  The glass-on-glass tinkle almost overwhelms the jumping frog toy…but not quite.
  7. Carl Kruger & Dr Mmm & Lackthrow: That episode of The Jetson’s where Martin Denny makes a guest appearance…as a xylophone-playing living gas!  With no digits to handle the beaters Judy & Elroy become unwitting puppets for digital exotica.
  8. Zebra Mu & Loopool & World of White Ice: Jammin’ Unit crossed with Hot Butter’s Popcorn.  The deep squelch of an 808 [Editor’s note: yes, I know that 808s don’t squelch – leave Joe alone: he’s jazz.] is tweaked to an intense degree; translation services for breeds unknown.
  9. Zalheitzli & Arvo Zylo & Granite Dolphins: Seafloor rumbling with pressure waves compressed into lactic explosions, pitched as high as a seal’s sneeze.  Evokes the desolation of an A1 service station at 3a.m. – perfectly.
  10. Silver Moult & Blue Spectrum: More maritime frolics but this time we’re closer to the shore.  Waves are breaking over seagull skulls…but wait.  The whole beach is constructed of bleached bones.  Holiday makers crunch over the brittle shore.  No one notices except you.
  11. Big Sad & Bedwetter & Rag Lore: Hardanger Fiddle played down a long thin wire.  The occasional ‘pop’ and ‘kooof’ pepper the busy drone like fine sensimilla.

ARTWATCH – I’m assuming our esteemed Editor will cut n’ paste a picture of the cover over this here review [Editor’s note: of course, see above].  As you can see for yourself it’s a colourful confection for sure.  Me?  I think there’s something of the Church of the Sub-Genius baiting the Watchtower about this one; it managing to be both creepy and antiseptic at the same time.  Nice work Justin!

peer group - pubic cubism

Peer Group – Pubic Cubism

My original hand-written notes for this disc said…

Untitled – Unknown (?) (Blue Spectrum?) Fucked up dub??

…as I can’t decipher anything on this very lovely and professionally packaged disc from Blue Spectrum (the label).

This rubbish description made old J. Jonah Jameson laugh out loud with its unreadable underground credentials so I thought I better do some digging to find out who in the blazes made this odd little disc once and for all.

Professor Google confirms that those responsible are Mr Justin Marc Lloyd (again) and Mr Carl Kruger at the helm here for some sonic sound collage, loopage and floaty wooziness that I’m now calling ‘litmus-dub’.

It’s all very…well…nice with partial tunes engaging and releasing, building up and falling over with an almost calming-with-an-edge of sweet digital discharge.  Picture a Macbook on fire spouting lavender smoke or something.  It’s truly pretty stuff and I’m loving it…it’s just come as such a surprise to be listening to pleasant and lovely music that I’m a trifle discombobulated.

I know it’s only March but this has to win the ‘RFM – music most likely to turn up in a Perfume Advert’ Award that I have just this second invented.  Get your nostrils to twitch!

Oh yeah…here’s an early tip for Christmas.  Simon turned me on to this festive compilation from DJ Insect Repellent.  I played the arse out of this over the festive season but have a strict seasonal Xmas song policy, ‘let no bells be jingled unless it’s December.’  Of course there is the possibility that you are not as furiously uptight as me with these kinda things so here’s the link to a Bandcamp version.  Just thought I’d pass this on.


Blue Spectrum Tapes

Swamp Circle

Peer Group

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