CD & Ltd Edition Coloured Vinyl available on the blood and biscuits webstore
DAN NICHOLLS KEYBOARDS/ELECTRONICS
MATT CALVERT GUITAR/ SYNTHS/ELECTRONICS
JOSHUA BLACKMORE ELECTRONIC+ACOUSTIC DRUMS
Written by Dan Nicholls and Strobes (except A2+B1 by Nicholls/ Smith/Strobes).
Produced by Strobes, mixed by Matt Calvert, mastered by Peter Beckmann at TechnologyWorks.
Thanks to Dave Smith for his invaluable input to this music.
released November 4, 2016
"A sonic triangle of electrified polyrhythms, spaced-out synth jams and off-kilter beats." Is how three-piece Strobes attempt to describe their occasionally indescribable debut album.
Formed of keyboardist Dan Nicholls (who has worked with Squarepusher and Matthew Herbert), drummer Joshua Blackmore (Troyka) and guitar and synth man Matt Calvert (Three Trapped Tigers, Heritage Orchestra) – this band has created, via their debut release Brokespeak, an album that eschews genre and feels free from time-stamps. They are an intensely high-octane group that fire off frantic tempos and intricate complexities, yet they also retain an accessibility through fluid grooves and an engaging sense of melodic intuition. It’s an approach which Nicholls’ feels the group has adopted almost intentionally, “Our music seems to have naturally moved towards making something simple out of something complex – whether it be a lop-sided beat which is somehow danceable, a combination of patterns that form a melody, or improvisations where the instruments seem to blend into one another.”
The group interlock through Nicholls’ agile and sophisticated keyboard and bass synth work, Blackmore’s dizzying and immersive beats and Calvert’s riffs that shift from crunching noise to ecstatic grooves. The end result at times feels hectic and jittery, a scattered assault of slightly math-rock explorations, soaring post-rock guitars, grooving African rhythms and glitchy, pulverising electronics. Yet for all it's seeming restlessness, it contains a feeling of fluidity and restraint that adds a further sense of depth and cohesion to the record – it's additional jazz tinge making the finished album sound like something you might find on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label.
Originality is at the core of the group’s explorations and even the album’s title feels emblematic of their idiosyncratic output and approach, as Nicholls points out. "The title for me encapsulates this concept of odd-sounding rhythms and melodies, like a broken language which makes sense in it's own way. Wonky, off-kilter, a little foreign sounding." In an attempt to evade or demolish anything resembling singular genre exploration they have, somewhat paradoxically, ended up creating their own sound that traverses styles and eras. The most beautiful thing being that only direct exposure to the music itself will come close to revealing exactly what that sounds like.
We love the simplicity of these guys' demeanor, with a huge musical world within them! There are only 3 people in the band, but everyone gives 100%. The drummer is sweating after the first minute, the guitarist and the bassist are constantly switching from guitars to synths. The synergy between them is amazing! Wannabes Music Club
One review called this "a masterpiece"...well,no...not really...that's a terrible poison chalice to saddle any new band with. Some people have also called this 'math rock'...well,if that means precise rhythms,breakneck unison playing and eccentric time signatures (the drummer sometimes sounds like a rock-drill on steroids),then that would have been a term to apply to the Mahavishnu Orchestra or,indeed,Troyka...another review called this "like nothing you've ever heard"...well,no...
No,this is a very good workout with some interesting ideas but they can be repetitive without a sense of development,I think. It actually works better when it slows down a bit and takes a breath and becomes less autistic...
Technically very challenging but emotionally a little arid in places. It is a rewarding listen but this band have a lot more development in the tank and don't need the over-hype...
I adore this album!
It’s like all of my favourite music has been rolled into one.
I’m getting flavours of Battles, The Bad Plus, Tigran Hamasyan mixed with all of my favourite electronica. And a lot more besides.
I love every minute of it.
Thank you. It’s found me at just the right time.