Sudden Voices is a project led by Ben Morris, who is returning to music after a hiatus of more than fifteen years. Ben previously served time in Union Wireless, a London-based post\kraut\experimental-rock band who meandered their way through the late 1990s with a constantly evolving line-up of musicians.
A couple of albums were recorded, the first at London’s renowned analogue paradise Toe Rag Studios, the second with Toby Robinson (CAN, Derek Bailey, etc). Both albums were released by Elefant Records, kindly reviewed in the music press of the day, and maybe even listened to by a few people. It was hard to tell back then.
By the early 2000s real life intervened and they had gone their separate ways, some to musical destinations as diverse as noise poetry-mongers Map 71 and folk-rock unit-shifters Bellowhead, others to “proper jobs” and overwhelmed parenthood.
Despite this Ben didn’t completely abandon music and spent many of the intervening years tinkering with vintage organs and singing in choirs. This informs much of the work on Sudden Voices, where choral arrangements fight for attention with repetitive grooves and acoustic instruments, combining into a warm organic psychedelia. Songs are written through improvisation with a fixed set of organic instruments, helping to give the songs an experimental feel without sacrificing a melodic edge or sense of coherence.
Influences range from the metronomic groove of krautrock, through to the space jazz of “Bitches Brew”, via a clear fondness for the Velvet Underground, Suicide, Talk Talk, and the Fall. The results are shot through with a DIY work ethic and low-fi sensibility, as well as an ear for a good tune.
MILK AND HONEY
Milk and Honey is typical of this approach, with a shuffling groove propels the song through a rich, analogue psychedelia that rises and falls in distinct swells. It is a song about regretting wasted time, a feeling that only gets worse as you get older – i.e. “all those longer days and shorter years”. Ultimately, you can find resolution and a way forwards, but only if you are prepared to adjust to the reality of your changing circumstances.
The accompanying video was also created by Morris and explores animated graphics inspired by post-war designers such as Josef Müller-Brockmann, Armin Hofmann, and Saul Bass. The video has a vintage, analogue feel to it, with the VHS glitching creating the sense of something that has been languishing in a vault for decades.
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