Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Focus Group Broadcast

Faint stirrings from the Broadcast camp as an American tour and a forthcoming EP are announced as follows (on the Warp records website):

Broadcast are set to return to American shores this fall - with a series of shows teaming up with Atlas Sound (Kranky/4AD). Both groups have new material surfacing this year - an EP from Broadcast, to be released around the tour, and a new Atlas Sound album 'Logos' in October.
"Okay people...Broadcast and The Focus Group have joined hands to create a new ep of seancing songs and witch cult rumbles" (says singer Trish Keenan).

I saw them performing with Atlas Sound at the Explosions in the Sky All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Minehead a couple of years ago, although perhaps ‘saw’ is an inapt description. Coming in some minutes into Atlas Sound’s performance performance, the lofty figure of Bradford Cox could easily be seen above the heads of the audience. But what were these other intriguing analogue whooshes and oscillations which surrounded his effects haloed guitar sound. Fancy pedals of some stripe, I figured, and was surprised when he also seemed to be playing against a manipulated sample of Trish Keenan singing Black Cat. Then, at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable set, he announced ‘ladies and gentlemen, Broadcast, and Trish and James stood up from where they had been toying with their arcane circuitry, entirely hidden from the view of all but the first row. I like to think that this electronic bric-a-brac is usually housed in some customised garden shed to which they retire when inspiration strikes, and that neighbours hear strange sounds drifting over the fence and mutter ‘they’re at it again’. But I suspect this is just idle fancy. Evidently a friendship was formed, anyway, an Atlas axis established. You can probably still find an audio-visual record of ‘tea with Broadcast’ on the Deerhunter/Atlas Sound website and blog.

The collaboration with the Focus Group is very exciting, a meeting with the world of Ghost Box which has long been anticipated given their shared enthusiasms and tastes (and the fact that they know each other, of course). A hint of what happens when these worlds collide can be found by listening and watching to the improvised soundtrack to the Focus Group’s Julian House’s eerie film which was screened at the Belbury Poly Youthclub night at the Shunt Vaults in London a few months back (see previous post). Sounds to evoke the chill atmospheres of Arthur Machen or Blackwood’s supernatural tales, and a fine way to welcome the oncoming of darker Autumn evenings.

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