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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Broadcast - 'The Future Crayon' (Warp)

I think a lot of my friends are surprised that I love Broadcast so much, cause they're seen as "outside" of my circle or something. Or maybe they fall into a "like but don't love" category, where they certainly sat for many years in my own estimation til something elevated them to the field of Underbite-Cinderblock lovin'. This is an Incesticide-style compilation that dates from 1998-2001, though it wasn't released until 2006. When I first heard this, it was a dub or rip or burn or whatever the kids call it these days, so I didn't realise it was a compilation - so I listened to it as an album and thought it was totally great. 'Illuminations' is a fantastic way to open, with bold brush strokes that paint a spooky social portrait. These songs almost feel like they bridge the gap between the earlier Broadcast sound and the more diverse, coherent material of Tender Buttons, with Haha Sound the obvious in-between point. Individual songs can stand alone on many a mixtape. 'Small Song IV' is spare and chilling, and I think that I like this band so much when they let their songs breathr. If anything has really changed since the early days, it's that we no longer get to hear the crazy space-jazz instrumentals, like 'DDL' and 'Violent Playground'. There's been a tendency towards more minimal song structures and production methods, though because this is sequences for flow, not chronology, you don't necessarily get that. But that's why CD players can be programmed. The 18 tracks here have a few highlights: 'Poem of Dead Song' fizzles with an Eastern ambience that's partially Mata Hari, or maybe 'Casablanca Moon'. But instead of verbosity, it's all smoke and mirrors, and the mirrors reflect other mirrors. Utterly beautiful. The drummer gets the jazzercise on, with 'Locusts' swinging around until he holds back and lets feedback and drones do the talking, but only for a second. It's a mastery of good taste, unlike this review, which is sycophantic and rambling. It's been years since I've listened to anything earlier than Haha Sound (except this) but it might be time to go and revisit those first two records - just as soon as I get through all the vinyl and CDs and 7"s for these blogs (it's been well over a year and we're not through the B's yet! Help!).

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