Speedbooth… don't know what one is but...what a pleasing combination of words! Up there with such delectable two-syllable splackers as, I dunno….cash-back? Tooth-ache? Wet-wipe? It’s also the name of a new project from wilfully low-viz London-based Scot, Kev Cormack, coming correct with this self-titled, mostly instrumental tape which hasn’t left our deck in a week.
It’s a perfect pestling of acoustic and electronic textures, brittle finger-picked folk phrasings shaded with minimal synth, full of sticky miasmic melodies but unafraid to ramble into out-and-out abstraction, its spikier moments coming over like some rural arts & crafts take on musique concrete. Having said that, the fact that this gear was home-recorded in a flat in London, and NOT in bucolic bliss, is palpable…it’s claustrophobic as fuck, the "pastoral" as imagined by a hungover commuter with his face pressed against the window of the 98 bus at rush-hour. Odes on space hassle!
The thing about the Spillage Fete label, with its small cast of players all contributing to each other’s projects, is that it’s tricky sometimes to disentangle them - and Speedbooth's maiden voyage certainly has a good deal in common with Jam Money (Cormack’s duo with Mat Fowler) and Bons (Fowler, Cormack and Matt Hunt), as well as Cormack’s previous solo endeavours as Half Cousin and Harry Deerness. To my ears this lot have emerged as the true descendants of that rich seam of 7” and CD-bothering UK underground activity that characterised the late '90s - people like Pram, Movietone, Hood, Flying Saucer Attack, etc and the many-minnowed micro-scenes that formed around them. Gentle music, but full of shadows and unexpected sharp edges. It's a proper thrill to hear contemporary musicians picking up that ball of mad wool and running with it.
Kev’s guitar is a near-constant and very much the driving force, whether doing cracked, meandering needlepoint blues, Witchseasony acid-folk or choppy, electrified rock'n'roll wooze a la Yuzo Iwata or Maher Shalal Hash Baz. All the tracks are short, library-like cues - posing more questions than they answer. Highlights? Every part feels crucial to the whole, but our ears prick up every time we hear ‘Skroo’’s cascades of bowled percussion and whacked pots and pans, proper kitchen-porter gamelan; ‘Proximity', with its plumes of woodwind and a submerged 4/4 kick, ‘Suburban Landings', a flawless one and a half minutes of Dome-ish ambient drift; the impossibly affecting sag and swell of 'Offshore', like some lonesome dub-corroded echo of a Flying Nun record.
Yeah...it really doesn't get better than this. Edition of 50, with download code included.