Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sam Spence Sounds

I do love my vintage synth sounds, yes. I was going to add ‘who doesn’t?’ but that would be presumptuous, eh? So my afternoon has been enhanced by discovering Sam Spence’s album ‘Sam Spence Sounds’ (Finders Keepers).
   I’d tell you all about Sam but a) I haven’t researched him, b) I wonder if it really matters who he is or what he’s done, c) if you were bothered, you’d look him up, d) I’m not doing the damn work for you.
   Remember a time when information on artists was scarce? You relied on the sleeve notes being filled with biographical material or an article in a magazine. Today we can find out all about everyone but that’s not necessarily a good thing, is it? Not if, like me, you enjoy preserving a mystery sometimes.
   Ironically, now we find out things about people we have no interest in via the media, which floods our already info-saturated eyeballs. Oh rotten world of info overload.
   I did go through a phase in the BPC years of reading musical biographies. It felt necessary to know all about Art Pepper’s not-so-straight life, for instance, or the thoughts of an artist situated beneath the underdog such as Mingus. I don’t read those kinds of books today, perhaps because, having acquired the moniker of ‘Snobin’ by a friend, jokingly, I reject what others can know so easily, even if that knowledge pertains to an artist of great merit. That is not true, of course; I’m simply not interested in reading biogs, these days.
   Sam even plays some cheesy Prog Pop in the form of ‘Sylvia’ – and it doesn’t diminish my pleasure one bit. On ‘Flying Low’ he goes all harpsichordal. It’s pretty bad, but I still forgive him because it is of its time. And it’s followed by ‘Moog Shot 25’ – 1min 11secs of low end Moog moodiness, which is brilliant. I’m all for brevity, the kind of which is often a feature of classic early synthesizer albums.
   On ‘Wie Ein Blitz’ Sam creates what sounds like The Shadows meet Sounds Orchestral with a funky backbeat – very 60s poptastic. Follow this, as the selectors have, with ‘Moog Shot 22’, then ‘The Net’, and you’re given the flavour of Sputnik-era Pop Futurism.
   Ah, the future was so much better in the old days, eh?

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