Friday, 10 August 2012

Thought Broadcast - Thought Broadcast

There have been many scientific studies undertaken over the years to determine what effect music has on humans, both mentally and physiologically. It would seem that the general consensus of opinion is that happiness is the most common feeling to be derived from listing to music, especially given it's ability to stimulate the release of neurochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. I'm not about to disagree with this research but I'd also like to add another effect that I take pleasure in experiencing when playing a record for the first time - confusion. Some of the most confusing, strange and downright "difficult" albums I've initially encountered have gone on to become absolute favourites over time and I suspect that this will become one of them.

I've had this album on my hard drive for quite a few weeks now and only recently had the chance to add it to my iTunes library. A few moments after sitting down to listen for the first time, I had to check that I'd sourced the correct playlist as I was sure I had inadvertantly selected a collection of tape recordings from circa 1979.

As far as I can tell, Thought Broadcast is led by New York artist Ravi Binning. There may be other people involved in the project but that information isn't readily available, partly due to the fact that the band's name is also a commonly reported symptom of schizophrenia and therefore hard to pin down relevant search engine results.

This self titled album consists of twelve tracks fashioned from monotone synth bleeps, minimal beat box rhythms and a variety of additional atonal sounds generated by other analogue machines. Binning's voice appears on most tracks, his vocals scrambled and rendered all but unintelligible through sheets of cassette tape hiss and smudged ferric murk. To say that this set is lo-fi would be a massive understatement but I think it's sonic limitations merely add to the overall effect. Think new wave/no wave minimal electronics or pre-punk/post-punk experimentation. It's hard not to deny the antecedents here; Throbbing Gristle and early Cabaret Voltaire being the main sources of influence. Coincidently, when adding this album to my iTunes library I noticed that it sat directly above the first entry in my Throbbing Gristle back catalogue, segueing perfectly into their Second Annual Report album.

With Thought Broadcast, Ravi Binning has created an album of oblique, submerged, aphotic brilliance that perfectly recalls a specific point in music history and ends up sounding like one of it's lost classics. There are quite a few people out there at the moment using this timeframe as a source of reference but no-one has yet managed to sound so focussed or accomplished as this.

There are a few copies remaining from a limited run of heavyweight vinyl in a silkscreened sleeve via the Olde English Spelling Bee online shop. A digital download version is also available through Boomkat and Juno.

No comments:

Post a Comment