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Broadcast


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Ethereal '60s-flavoured techno pop with elements of ectronica

Status:

Tragically, vocalist Trish Keenan died in January 2011, so the band is defunct, though there are hopes that a final album will be released. Most recent release, Berberian Sound Studio (soundtrack, 2012)

See also:

Wikipedia's entry on Broadcast

A fan site

Comparisons:

Young Marble Giants, Laika, or Stereolab, headed towards the off-kilterness of Pram

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Electronic pop, with great songwriting and evocative vocals by the female lead singer. They share some of Stereolab's delight in '60s instrumentation but with a contemporary update. A little Pram-ish, too. a great discovery for those interested in something a little different. (Neile)

Broadcast are Stereolab's darker cousins, or Saint Etienne in photonegative. Like the 'lab, they employ elements of drone-pop with beautiful, emotionless female vocals. Like Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell, singer Trish sounds like Petula Clark—if Clark were a graduate student immersed in Nietzsche. The band is influenced as much by '60s pop as they are by the more abstract electronica of Aphex Twin.
     Like Pram (with whom they share a member), Broadcast freely pilfers soundtrack music and cheesy sci-fi effects. The result is eerie, rather than arch and kitsch. The music is mysterious and smart, like the landscapes of the early surrealists. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com) I don't think I'd consider Broadcast to be trip-hoppy, per se, but I really like Work and Non Work. They did have a sort of off-kilterness which is somewhat akin to trip-hop, but didn't seem as driving. It was also reminiscent, in a vague second-hand way, of Lisa Germano. More in terms of delivery and phrasing than sound or vocals or content. Anyway, I rather like it, and there was one particular song that was a standout, which of course I can't figure out from looking at the titles. (neal)

I like Broadcast a lot. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Recommended first album:

Work and Non Work

Recordings:


The Book Lovers EP

Release info:

1996—Duophoni—DS-CD16

Availability:

Wide in U.K. on release

Ecto priority:

For Broadcast completists only

Comments:

A four-track ep clearly intended as a teaser for their first full-length album, Work and Non Work, as all four tracks also appear on there. They're great tracks, but you probably don't need this unless you're a completist. (Neile)

Work and Non Work

Release info:

1997—Drag City (U.S.)—DC130CD

Availability:

Available in U.S. at places that carry indie releases

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of electronic pop

Group members:

Broadcast

Comments:

The information available on the disc packaging is minimal—clearly it's the music that matters, and it truly does. This is a disc that stands up well to obsessive repeat plays. This contains the four songs from their Book Lover's EP, which introduced the band to me the year before this came out and made me certain I wanted this, no matter what. It doesn't disappoint. Songs like "Message From Home" sneak their way into your head and you find lines from them coming into your mind at strange times. I love the whole collection, from the dreamy, tilty "Accidentals" to the eerie "We've Got Time" to the drifting "According To No Plan" (which manages to evoke the same emotional tone as Brian Eno's brilliant "Julie with..." from Before and After Science). This is wonderful music. (Neile)

Echo's Answer (single)

Release info:

1999—Warp Records—WAP125CD

Availability:

Wide in UK on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Broadcast fans

Produced by:

Broadcast

Comments:

A two-track single including "Echo's Answer" from The Noise Made By People and "Test Area", a b-side. "Echo's Answer" is of course a great track, but "Test Area" is a noodling kind of improvision and definitely not essential. (Neile)

Extended Play ep

Release info:

2000—Warp Records—WAP129CD

Availability:

Wide in UK on release

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Broadcast fans

Produced by:

Broadcast

Comments:

A 4-track ep including one track from The Noise Made By People and 3 b-sides. "Papercuts" is the track from the album and is a great one. "Belly Dance" is another wandering instrumental. "Where Youth and Laughter Go" is a pretty good song. "Dave's Dream" is another 1960s movie soundtrack kind of meandering track. (Neile)

Come On Let's Go (single)

Release info:

2000—Warp Records—WAP132CD

Availability:

Wide in U.K. on release

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Broadcast fans

Comments:

A 3-track single including "Come On Let's Go" from The Noise Made By People and 2 b-sides, "Locusts" which is another 5-minute-long improvisation and "Chord Simple" which sounds like the instrumentation for one of their songs. (Neile)

Extended Play Two

Release info:

2000—Warp Records—WAP141CD

Availability:

Wide in U.K. on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Broadcast fans

Produced by:

Broadcast

Comments:

A 5-track ep including one track from The Noise Made By People and 4 b-sides. "Illumination" is a fine Broadcast song though I can see why it's a b-side; "Unchanging Window" is the album track (lovely); "Chord Simple" is different from the one on the Come On Let's Go (single)—far more of a meandering piece, shifting all over; I like the moody "A Man for Atlantis" quite well; "Poem of Dead Song Drums on Fire" is very wandering. (Neile)

The Noise Made By People

Release info:

2000—Warp Records—WarpCD65

Availability:

Available in the U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Trish Keenan—vocals
Roj Stevens—keyboards
James Cargill—bass
Tim Felton—guitar

Guest artists:

Stephen Perkins—drums
Keith York—drums

Comments:

I'm not sure how to describe how this is different from their first album. In many ways it's very like Work and Non Work, but seems even a step closer to a light kind of pop with all kinds of wonderful echoes of '60s jazzy-pop. A collection that can be take as superficially delightful pop, or listened to more deeply for the experimental, haunting undercurrents. I love this. (Neile)

Pendulum ep

Release info:

2003—Warp Records—WAP162CD

Availability:

Wide in U.K. on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Broadcast fans

Group members:

Broadcast

Guest artists:

Neil Bullock—drums

Comments:

A 6-track ep with one track from Ha Ha Sound and 5 b-sides. "Pendulum" is the album track and it's a great one. "Small Song IV" is odd and kind of interesting like a half-tuned radio. "One Hour Empire" is another instrumental. "Still Feels Like Tears" is a fairly good Broadcast song, though perhaps a little less distinctive than their best. "Violent Playground" is a noisy instrumental noodle. "Minus Two" is one of their instrumentals with more experimental sounds. Alas, their instrumentals just don't do that much for me? (Neile)

Opening track "Pendulum" is Teutonic dance pop wedded to the warm static burbles of German IDM act Pole. "Small Song IV" mixes the '60s combo feel of the Left Bank as retooled by Autechre. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)


Ha Ha Sound

Release info:

2003—Warp Records—WARPCD106X

Availability:

Widely available in the U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Gorgeously but uninformatively packaged—the cd comes in a small hard-bound book with lyrics but no information as to personnel, etc. This has touches of the noisy era of Stereolab and also of the pastoral sounds of Belle and Sebastian or Virginia Astley, and ends up sounding like a mix between Young Marble Giants and Pram. Lots of funky and odd noises juxtasposed with the soft pop vocals. (Neile)

Tender Buttons

Release info:

2005—Warp Records—WARPCD136

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Again the packaging (just a typical jewelbox and booklet this time) doesn't include any useful information about the personnel of the band or who worked on the recording; however this is again a brilliant album, probably my favourite now of all of Broadcast's CDs. There's something about the beautiful, dispassionate, melodic singing in the middle of the strange noises and music and the allusive, intriguing lyrics that total captures me. I like all the tracks on this, especially "Black Cat" and "Corporeal"—it's a truly wonderful album that has got a lot of play in our house and is highly, highly recommended. (Neile)

Berberian Sound Studio

Release info:

2012—Warp—WarpCD233

Availability:

U.K.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of soundtracks or of the odd

Group members:

Trish Keenan and James Cargill

Guest artists:

Christer Melén—effects (1, 7, 11, 16, 22); montage (13)
Fatma Mohamed—dialogue (4, 19, 28)
Eugenia Caruso—dialogue (4, 19, 28), scream (7), prayers (13, 35); chant (38)
Giovanni—dialogue (7, 16)
Colin Fletcher—effects (7)
Susanna Cappellaro—rayers (13, 32)
Chiara D'anna—prayers (13)
Peter Strickland—montage (13); clock recording (17)
Colin Potter—effects (13)
Steven Stapleton—effects (13, 24))
Tracy Bolger, Patsy Preston, Sarah Redpath, Claire Crosby—screams (13, 24)
Katalin Ladik—howling (16)
Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg—goblin (22)
Tim Kirby—effects (28, 38)
Stephanie Kirby—scream (38)

Comments:

Soundtrack to a film by Peter Strickland—odd, weird, and mostly for fans of such things. Not a necessity for Broadcast fans, though much of the sound will be familiar to them. Maybe not the screams. (Neile)

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2014-02-23 20:16:59.
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