As lockdown continued, time spent listening to music on the daily walk became even more important. I discovered some old albums (Virginia Astley – ‘From Gardens Where We Feel Secure’), uncovered some new (Exo – Tineidae, more to follow…) but most of all listened to new releases from some familiar names. Three albums in particular will remind me of this period:
Glassforms – Bruce Brubaker & Max Cooper
Voices – Max Richter
All Things Being Equal – Sonic Boom
I’ve talked about the monumental Glassforms before so I won’t bore again. It’s all here → Bruce Brubaker & Max Cooper – ‘Glassforms’
Voices by Max Richter (of ‘Sleep‘ fame amongst many others), had been much hyped if you follow his work. The album is themed around the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Beautiful passages of music emerge out of short readings from the declaration. All Human Beings (the lead single) is peppered throughout, sometimes ushered in by an ‘Everyone has the right….’ spoken word extract. It’s Max Richter, so it’s layered with strings and piano, just the way i like it.
There’s a download with the vinyl where you not only get the original but also a ‘voiceless’ version. That version has been soundtracking my sleep for a few weeks now. It’s gorgeous, can’t recommend it enough.
Around my birthday Sonic Boom (aka Pete Kember Spectrum/EAR and former Spacemen 3 founder) released All Things Being Equal. The first proper Spectrum/solo album since Forever Alien back in 1997. I’d continued to buy his work through the Experimental Audio Research (EAR) phase. Some work was blissful ie. Mesmerised and even Phenomona 256. It all went a bit dark from The Koner Experiment through Millennium Music, Data Rape and Live at the Dream Palace. He was making music with oscillators and, if i remember right, Speak & Spell machines. By the time he released Pestrepeller (my last EAR purchase) I was pretty much done collecting his music as the albums were becoming an increasingly challenging listen (Try Continuum, the album after Pestrepeller, it’s darker than the ocean floor). I saw him in East Kilbride of all places doing a gig with the oscillator front and centre. You had to be a diehard.
He’d drifted a bit from memory over the intervening years until this release. He did release the War Sucks EP many years back which still displayed the early Sonic Boom/Spectrum sound, the sound I loved. So, All Things Being Equal was a bit out of the blue. It has all the hallmarks of a Sonic Boom album. It reminded me a lot of the Soul Kiss (Glide Devine) and High, Lows & Heavenly Blows era, as well as Recurring, the final Spacemen 3 album. He’s touring in March 2021, playing Stereo in Glasgow. Hopefully, gigs will be a thing again by then. I never realised Sonics music was missing from my life until I heard this album. Welcome back, I hope there’s plenty more to come.
Lockdown has eased, perhaps prematurely, but i’ll still be out with the headphones, far from the crowds gathering tunes for Jaykits Vol. 15. It’s shaping up nicely.