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04 Jul 11
26 Nov 12
Review: Editions Mego offshoot Spectum Spools has been gaining wide attention recently, partly thanks to Bee Mask's peerless work but also through Ren Schofield's maniacal excursions. The man otherwise known as Container has already produced one LP for the label and this new work sees a maturation of his experimental side, furthering it into an overwhelming cesspool of electro-tinged madness. Opening with "Dripping" is certainly a bold move, with a demented beat arrangement swirling feverishly into a sea of screeching noises and aggressive bells; things show no signs of slowing down on "Paralyzed", mixing a bumping breakbeat structure together with layers upon layers of effects and wild percussion elements. "Acclimator" settles into a neater groove, one which faintly resembles a murky, deep techno moment - delayed snares and crackling drums all round. Over on the B-side, we have what resembles Drexciya on acid, the merciless drums of "Perforate" occupying every corner of the track with a swirling mass of 303-tweaked melodies forming a dense puddle of sci-fi atmospherics; while "Refract" combines a crispy post-jungle drum structure with minimalistic tones and eerie synths. Container pushing the limits on this one - warmly recommended!
28 May 12
Review: Quite how you pitch Drainloith to someone unfamiliar is hard to fathom. It's the sound of one man (Alexander Moskos) drunkenly stammering out a mixture of Cobain-esque guitar squalls and odd synth rhythms with occasional breathy vocals. After the initial jarring angles of the start of the album, "Blam's Again" falls into something resembling a focused style as the guitars get trimmed down to a looping chord phrase, while a choice pitch bent note drones away underneath and Moskos declares the subject to be "16bit". That aforementioned pitch bent drone takes centre stage for the succeeding "version" and it's actually quite brilliant.
02 Jul 12
Review: Perhaps the most minimal Spectrum Spools release to date, The Sincere Interruption is Eric Lanham's first release under his own name after several ears of performing as Carl Calm and Palmetto Moon Electronic Group. Recalling the precision of early 00s Mille Plateaux and Raster-Noton, The Sincere Interruption clicks with glitches that sound like scrambled MP3 fragments, albeit held together with an invisible matrix beneath. Repetitive, yet imperceptibly evolving, this is a highly rewarding listen.
04 Apr 11
16 May 11
12 Nov 12
Review: Edition Mego's offshoot, Spectrum Spools, has been developing a deliciously rich spectrum of artists and sounds, and their most recent release, Bee Mask's When We Were Eating Unripe Pears, was an absolute jewel. Forma return to their debut label with an intensely varied range of influences and concepts - some pieces like "Forma 306C" almost verging on baroque styles, while the opener, "Forma" is a galloping array of synths and rippling drums. But what's most impressive is their ability to group these diverse sound platforms and make them work together as a unit; such as the 80's synth-pop excursion "Macanique" falling effortlessly into moodier, drone-laden tracks like "Forma 339/333" or the Vangelian synth soundscapes of "Forma 358". A terrifically diverse concoction of tones and timbres which take you on a journey far, far away.
16 Jul 12
Review: In the ever-quickening landslide of luscious synth pop emerging stateside, Gary War sounds very comfortable with the state of affairs as "Thousand Yard Stare" surges forthright from the starting blocks. The influences are borne on the sleeve, but Greg Dalton's alter-ego seems primarily concerned with contorting the groundwork of Gary Numan and co. into a disorientating melee of wobbling rhythms adrift at sea and myriad layers of melody, while his own vocals drown with glee. It's a maddening end result that will divide listeners, but beyond the camp histrionics of the music there is an incredible level of detail just waiting to be peeled back and understood. That said, this hardly comes on as music to be taken too seriously.
19 Mar 12
Review: With a cast including Moogs, Harmonica, Banjo, Harpsichord, Irish Harp, EMS Synthi, Violin, Drums, Clavinet, Serge Modular and field recordings, Derek Gedalecia's Head Boggle project is nothing if not exhaustive in its attempts to create bizarre musical compositions. From the crazed looping pop of "Digital Disco" and climbing piano scales of "Moon Village Valances" to the rough oscillations of "Moon Age" and smooth drips of "Wassermusic", the results are frankly astounding - sounding like the far reaching weirdness of James Ferraro's Skaters project coupled with the electroacoustic experimentations of Edgard Varese. Even by Spectrum Spools' standards this is esoteric stuff, but vital nonetheless.
26 Mar 12
10 Dec 12
Spatialisation Study 02 (Forty-Nine Tracks Of Isolated & Overlayed Clicks Generated From The Material & Positions Of The Previous Study) - (1:40)
Review: Spectrum Spools introduces yet another new talent to its flourishing catalogue - Michael Pollard, head of Brooklyn-based label, Arbor. The Editions Mego offshoot has been rather busy this year, releasing some of the most intriguing electronic recordings around. The whole LP is a meticulous study of individual elements and their auditive properties, such as the opener "Material Study 01 (Sand)": a detailed expose of how water movements and the cracking of sand interact to produce swirling mixtures of noise. "Material Study 02 (Cello & Jacket)" is a chilling portrait of muddies sonics and subdued melodies, urging to be released among its echoing walls of sound. "Spatialisation Study 01 (One Freeze From Seven Positions In A House)" and its second chapter "(Forty-nine tracks of isolated and overlayed clicks generated from the material and positions of the previous study)" are both hypnotic bundles of free-flowing drones and organic sounds; with the former being a long, sweltering drone, while the latter begins with scattered jolts which transform into a cyclone of white noise and distant bangs. Finally, "A Pencil Rubbing For The Art Cover" is Pollard's most avant-garde moment, where a simple movement of a pencil scratching against a surface produces a surprisingly alluring and mesmerising frequency of sound. Serious noise experimentations going on here!
14 May 12
Review: The alias of American musician Rachel Evans, The Motion Sickness of Time Travel is the latest addition to the ever expanding Spectrum Spools catalogue, and in a year of fine releases from the label this self titled album stands out as one of its best. Although the artist was introduced to world by a blink-and-you'll-miss-it vinyl run on Digitalis in 2010, this record should see her gaining wider admiration. Although her synth based sound has echoes of Oneohtrix Point Never and Emeralds, her vocals - although shrouded in reverb and reduced to mere sounds - imbue her synth drones with a sense of humanity a lot of her peers lack. With four tracks clocking in at nearly 100 minutes long, you'd think it would require serious patience to appreciate this album, but despite the tectonic evolution of her soundscapes, she draws you so far into her world you'll never want to leave.
19 Dec 11
09 Jul 12
Review: Spectrum Spools have had a year that's been nothing short of stellar, and we've only just reached the half way point. Competing with The Motion Sickness of Time Travel's self-titled album in our affections for Spectrum Spools release of the year, Outer Space land with Akashic Record. An ensemble led by label curator and Emeralds member John Elliott, the record resembles the arpeggio led soundscapes of his more well known group, but sans guitars, with music that both ripples with the hypnotic pulse of the universe's unseen workings and resembles the best synth based soundtrack work of the 80s and early 90s. Fans of John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream take note.
18 Jun 12
29 Apr 13
Review: Quicksails aka Ben Billington knows his electronics like the back of his hand and it was only a matter of time before we'd see him on the ever-alluring Spectrum Spools - the hearty and ferocious sub-label of Editions Mego run by Emeralds' John Elliott. Quicksails has appeared on a number of interesting imprints over the last year or two, including a cassette for both NNA Tapes and the stunning Digitalis label, but this is only his second full-length work on digital format. The LP is diverse as it is compelling and musically complex; starting with the psychedelic tribal chants of "The Many Roads Towards Mayville", Quicksails takes us on a mystic voyage through the many facets of his palate, such as the sporadic, distorted synth bursts of "As High Above The Lightning", or the bleaker soundscapes of "Only Escape" and even wailing, cataclysmic half-steps on "Night Bats".
13 Feb 12
Played by: Juno Recommends Leftfield
Review: Flux was originally recorded by Robert Turman in 1981, following a period in Boyd Rice's NON, and released on cassette. Unlike his noisier work, Flux saw Turman create long-form minimalism utilizing kalimba, piano, drum machine, and tape loops. The results were nothing short of stunning, and thankfully Spectrum Spools have seen fit to remaster and reissue it. With such limited tools at Turman's disposal, the sonic palette remains roughly the same throughout the album, but despite this each of the six pieces is strikingly unique, with a musical simplicity that belies their mathematical precision and complexity. A lost masterpiece that has rightfully been given the audience it deserves.
22 Jul 11
03 Dec 12
Review: Spectrum Spools has really been spoiling us recently; after a string of incredible releases, they're back with Three Legged Race aka Robert Beatty - a man who has been around the noise circuit for quite some time now. "Traces Of A Wet Crowd" opens the LP and we're thrown head first into a chilling jumble of gurgling timbres and computer-chip effects, not to mention those haunting vocals protruding from its core. The title track, "Persuasive Barrier" is a wonderful albeit macabre piece, containing bizarre synth melodies and the surrounding palate of aqueous noises. "Butter Colored Hallway" further manifests Beatty's fascination with echoes and hollow frequencies, but it's on "Locked Eyes" that he turns the focus onto more musical paths, where a bouncy backdrop of drums is swallowed by his jazzy synth explorations and tweaking effects. "Budgeting Air" is another moment of genius, where the structure of the arrangement is barely held together by a scuffling bundle of bleeps and sci-fi effects. An incredibly original voyage into the lineage between drone and free-jazz - recommended!