Friday, 22 May 2009

Sunroof! - Slipstream

Apropos of nothing, I figured I might put up a few records I have which have yet to see the light of day in sharity land (so far as I can tell).

One of my all-time favourite musical artists is Matthew Bower, a graying guitar god from England, active in the noisier end of things since 1982.

Mr. Bower has split his output of the last two decades between several different bands, or more properly aliases (among these, Skullflower, Total, Sunroof!, and The Hototogisu are best known); sometimes the style of these aliases shifts so far over time that one outfit's 'house style' becomes the sound of another outfit entirely - so it can get fairly confusing*.

Especially as Mr. Bower is quite prolific, to say the very least.

For the purposes of this post, we're interested in Sunroof!, which began in the late 1990s as Total was winding down, and which seemed to be replacing it initially as Bower's non-Skullflower vehicle of choice. Sunroof! debuted in 2000 with the colossal double CD "Delicate Autobahn Under Construction" on VHF and followed that up with a flood of releases for years to come that was noteable for being anything goes (in the best possible sense) even by Bower's own standard.

Sunroof! seemed to be music designed to evoke a higher state. Pieces were clipped of beginnings and endings putting us in a constant NOW with the psychedelic edit, clip from this track to that, free floating 'pillow music' that could employ keyboards, violins, chimes, birdsong, pipes, hand drums, a child's voice, oceans of fuzz. Gone was the rock of Skullflower, replaced with a sound that floated by contrast, that buzzed and hummed & seemed to exist in its own timeless space.

Among these records was a CDR named 'Slipstream' -- recorded in England between 1997 and 1999 with the help of Godbert, Campbell, Youngs, Jones, and Gaylani, released on Bower's own label Rural Electrification Program (not Giardia or VHF) in 2002.

In the wise words of Aquarius Records:

'Slipstream' starts off with warbling primitive synths, phasing and beating against each other and then proceeds into a chaotic synth/bell/string-scraping symphony, and echo-y washes of instrument hum, cacophonous bells and creaking strings and far-away tinny guitar sounding a bit like a gypsy celebration conducted by Hermann Nitsch and Philip Glass. A lot of 'Slipstream' is reminiscent of Spacemen 3 at their MOST SPACED. Really nice.

If all you have ever heard of Matthew Bower has been cranium-caving noise or sludge rock, you're in for a sonic surprise. MB himself has described as the band as, "piloting a spaceship which makes the nicest possible nice music in the nice universe that you could possibly want to hear".

Dare I say it, this is possibly the most pleasant record he's ever released.

[Link removed at artist's request]

*ie. The Hototogisu's 'White Winds of Autumn' sounds more like Sunroof!'s 'Slipstream' than later Hototogisu albums, which sound more like late-period Total.

1 comment:

Nasum Dur said...

Songs 5 and 9 are missing :(