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    Broadcast

    The Noise Made By People( 2000 )
    Long Was The Year / Unchanging Window / Minus One / Come On Let's Go / Echo's Answer / Tower Of Our Tuning / Papercuts / You Can Fall / Look Outside / Until Then / City In Progress / Dead The Long Year

    Broadcast hail from Birmingham - yet their music sounds like a cross between art incidental music, strange obscure analogue sounds or a dozen other artists so obscure to most, you'll never have heard of them. Signed to Warp Records, most famous for it's techno artists, aka Aphex Twin, etc, etc. Warp, home to Broadcast, a band that have drawn comparisons to Stereolab, not entirely an accurate comparison, but it's there. Broadcast use samples, female vocals, analogue recording equipment - draw from a wide array of obscure surf pop instrumentals and sixties futuristic space music, aka Raymonde Scott, or the BBC Radiophonic workshop. Broadcast haven't as yet chased success and have stated themselves that they are unlikely to have charting singles. A true alternative, the kind always close to this writers heart. Not obscure for the sake of it, rather obscure because the sounds and music they make is what they love, and like to make. It's as simple as that. When 'Long Was The Year' opens this record, all tinkling sounds swirling in the background behind deep minimal bass and the occassional booming bass-drum, eyes open. Ears hopefully follow, open, you prick up, sit up straight and LISTEN. At least you should, this cinematic, startling opener is the kind of thing that straight away makes a point. That here is something different to your usual rock/pop grouping.

    Not everything here works, Broadcast attempt a series of their own cinematic instrumentals - 'Tower Of Our Tuning' and 'Minus One' seem like exercizes in sound, beautiful sounds - yet something is missing with these pieces, they lack any more purpose or structure than to be incidental sounds. These pieces come across as mere filler, but the highlights of this 'The Noise Made By People' album are so good, the album comes up smiling brightly and capturing your imagination anyway. 'Papercuts' is the one. The first Broadcast song I ever heard, and straight away it was, "What the HELL IS THIS??!" and asking the assistant in HMV, buying the album three minutes later, that simple. There's a definite Sixites thing going on here, perhaps a little French pop of the era, soundtrack music, the analogue sounds of a Joe Meek, all mixed into Broadcast's version of their own pop song. It moves along, the bass sounds are captivating enough on their own, the drums are percussive and deliberate, aka Hal Blaine's contribution to mid-sixties era Beach Boys records. The second half of the album, other than 'Papercuts' and the stupendously evocative 'Look Outside, gets a little style over substance, but songs such as 'Echo's Answer' and 'Come On Let's Go' are beautiful, and overall, 'The Noise Made By People' makes for a promising debut proper.

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    Martin Gray bustercolumbus@ukonline.co.uk
    Broadcast are merely the best known of a number of like-minded left-field (but well underrated) Birmingham bands that have produced so much utterly bewitching music the past 10 years (Pram I would heartily recommend as another - having brought out nearly as many records as kindred spirits Stereolab!). The feel of this album has always reminded me uncannily of a cross between spooky 60's sci-fi flick "Quatermass & The Pit" (best encapsulated on their instrumental tour de force "Hammer Without A Master" - on the Warp compilation "We Are Reasonable People"), and 60's beatpop a la Sandie Shaw....("Come On Let's Go!") Hell, even Trish is beginning to resemble her more and more from a distance!! True sonic mavericks in every sense of the word.....and every discerning punter should give them a listen!


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    Haha Sound 9 ( 2003 ) more best albums...
    Colour Me In / Pendulum / Before We Begin / Valerie / Man Is Not A Bird / Minim / Lunch Hour Pops / Black Umbrellas / Ominous Cloud / Distorsion / Oh How I Miss You / The Little Bell / Winter Now / Hawk

    I must admit, in the three years between this and the previous Broadcast, um, 'broadcast' - i'd semi-forgotten about them. They kept a low profile whilst recording this follow-up set. Broadcast reputedly don't like recording studio's, thus this record was recorded in one of the band members houses, with the drums being recorded seperately in a church. By the way, before starting this page, I had no idea what they actually looked like. The picture at the top of this page was shamefully stolen from the official Warp Records web-site and used without permission, but my GOD, i've got to see this band! Anyway, 'Haha Sound'? It's stupendous from beginning to end, and Broadcast are now officially right up there with my favourite bands of 'the noughties', eg, bands releasing debuts after 1999 - so no, Radiohead or whatever, DON'T COUNT! In fact, it's either Clinic or Broadcast for me, restoring my faith in indie/alternative music of the truest kind, eg, not vaguely making indie/alternative sounds, then going all out to get a charting single as if Britpop was happening all over again. Am I a music snob? Ah, come on, I gave an ABBA album 8.5/10, so no. I'm just complicated, ha ha! I'm rambling here, because I don't quite know HOW to describe this record, this record that's making me cry more and more as I listen to it. 'Colour Me In' for example. Under three minutes of child-like lullaby music over which vocalist Trish Keenan sings about "if you want to colour me in" - and by gosh, I might want to do just that!

    'Pendulum' is stomping and purposeful and the third track, 'Before We Begin', combines gentle harmonies with the cinematic and analogue sounds of 'The Noise Made By People', but the songwriting has got so much better. This is such a gorgeous, beautiful song - it's just... every note and every sound seems to have been carefully placed, yet the overall track sounds so organic and natural, thanks to the instrumentation the band are using. 'Valerie' makes it four winners in a row, a folky guitar and more lullaby singing over Broadcast's strange, otherworldy beautiful music. I can't possibly speak of every song here. The album takes a small dip in its centre, but otherwise, everything is super-fine. Anyway, a small dip?? 'Minim' is fantastic, jazzy and everything you could possibly want it to be, unless you happen to be an AC/DC fan, you know?? Highlights all over the place, the one minute, seventeen second long 'How I Miss You' merely being the songs title repeated a few times by the singer, under which the music goes into Joe Meek space mode, yet gentle, mantra-like and oh so lovely. 'Haha Sound' is an utter masterpiece, basically. It maintains its quality throughout, pretty much. We can quibble about one or two songs here and there not quite being as good as one or two other songs here and there, but forget that. Buy this record. Now.

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    Readers Comments

    Eric Balzer ebalzer@hadassah.org
    I just got this album the other day and it's great. If you like this you should get The United States of America, a 60's band which seems to be a huge influence on Broadcast. Am I mistaken or do I hear an Autechre influence on some of the sound textures used on this album? btw Broadcast had a couple of eps released in 96 and 97 which were compled on Work and Non Work which came out in 1997 so they're not a "pure" 00's band (neither is Clinic who had some singled released in the late 90's as well) not that it really matters.

    Justin heasman_justin@hotmail.com
    found HaHa Sound a bit of a disappointment to be honest. They lost a member prior to this LP; I guess he was the one who wrote the melodies.


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    Tender Buttons( 2005 )
    I Found The F / Black Cat / Tender Buttons / America's Boy / Tears In The Typing Pool / Corporeal / Bit 35 / Arc Of A Journey / Michael A Grammer / Subject To The Ladder / Evil Is Coming / Goodbye Girls / You And Me In Time / I Found The End

    With Broadcast now trimmed to a duo, so music guy + female vocals, the end result being what it is, they could have titled this album 'Broadcast Hear A New World'. Well, such are the meek-isms present throughout. Yes, Broadcast get truly otherworldy in places here, with guitar lines sounding spot on for an imagined 22nd century Joe Meek production. With drum machines replacing the drummer, squelchy analogue synths and delicate melodies in amongst the Meek sounding guitar, Broadcast present another captivating set. With todays guitar bands picking up all the press and presenting endless variations on tradditional guitar, bass and drums, isn't it freshing to have a genuinely underground alternative? 'Bit 35' sits right in the middle of the album for instance, a little bit of a Neu motorik interlude inbetween the utterly lovely 'Corporeal' and the experimental noises in amongst melodies they are hardly there that is 'Arc Of A Journey'. 'Arc Of A Journey' sounds like you're floating through the stars at night, overlooking cold houses and people so small yet you still feel humble and powerless, yet strangely contented. Combine this with the likes of 'Americas Boy', which sounds exactly how a 1962 sci-fi movie would imagine 1982 pop music to sound like, and you can see that 'Tender Buttons' isn't your regular Arctic Monkeys or Kaisier Cheifs type of record. On an album full of highlights inbetween more experimental aural delights, 'Tears In The Typing Pool' is perhaps the masterpiece of the set. An impossibly lovely atmosphere, little strummed guitars, world weary vocals beamed at you via satellite and a genuinely addictive feel created in amongst the small town sadness.

    Broadcast are a genuine treasure for those in the know. Whilst the band appear to be adjusting to life as a duo by certain experimentation across this albums fourteen songs, there are still more than enough special pop-gems. 'Micheal A Grammer' with its irresistable chorus, 'Goodbye Girls', which could close a particularly emotional feel-good movie, 'Americas Boy', which I can listen to over and over again. Yet, this record isn't perfect. It's slightly too unfocused to be a masterpiece and could have been more forcibly concise, yet it's still a winner in our house, if, judging by sales along, precious few others.

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    Readers Comments

    Neal Grosvenor comrade_ronevsorg@excite.com
    This album totally crept up on me, and I must admit is still growing on me. I miss the amazing drums that were on Haha Sound, which were a highlight for me. But overall, I can still hear the Stereolab influence, and to me, there's nothing wrong with that.

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    this page last updated 09/06/07



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