Spectropol Records – the weird and the wonderful

21/10/2013

lin_obs

Sometimes it’s very satisfying to leave behind all your prejudices about what music is or should be and listen to the amazing musical activities that people get up to. For example, take Spectropol Records who have a catalogue of albums which offer the listener a range and variety of sound worlds that you won’t hear anywhere else. There’s enough here to keep you going for months. As the sidebar explains: Spectropol Records is a friendly netlabel devoted to excellent music unbound by venue and commerce; it’s a destination for adventurous music beyond journalistic and commercial style/genre classifications

And to be honest after listening for a while I still can’t fathom what’s going on in some of this music, nor can I figure out where it should sit, which box the various artists should be stuffed into. This is in itself a very welcome breath of fresh air. All I can say is that I’ve been charmed by this catalogue and treasure and embrace its presence in a world where it’s too easy to get sidetracked by all manner of institutional and personal agendas. There is something very interesting and ultimately pleasing going on at Spectropol.

Let me begin with Vincent Bergeron’s Il y a seulement des apparitions for voice and various instruments. This work defies categorisation and is all the more loveable as a result in its blend of cabaret, sound poetry, improvisation, cinema sound and/or music for animation, with hints at contemporary classical composition. I should point out in particular the uncanny uncertainty I felt as to how seriously I should treat this work, something I haven’t felt since I saw some of Ionesco’s stage plays.

Then we have the more abstracted world of Andrew Young’s Inkplaces where field recordings and electronic music are brought together in a most idiosyncratic fashion. Every bit as entertaining and skillfully crafted as any of the more reductive music currently overexposing itself on the etherwaves.

J.C Combs Gazing stands in contrast with the two previous albums in its simple exploration of processed piano. Now this isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, nor should it be for me to mention it, but this kind of simple instrumental music is important for many listeners and I’m happy to bring it to your attention because it stands up perfectly well alongside any of the better known artists in this idiom.

Finally I’ll point you to Bruce Hamilton’s 2012 work, Drams, which offers an impressive range of different pieces held together by the notion of dreaming. The use of microtonality on some of the pieces was what first led me to theis label and to Hamilton’s earlier work.

There are others I could mention, some well known for having been around for a while, like Viv Corringham, not to mention the ridiculous talents of improvising guitarist John Bisset and the extraordinary musical and extramusical skills of Ivor Kallin. two artists who wouldn’t stay in a box if you fastened down the lid with rivets.

As they say in the adult shops, there’s something for everyone…

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