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SONIC BOOM

Sonic Boom

All Things Being Equal

    It’s auspicious that Sonic Boom—the solo project of Peter Kember (Spectrum, Spacemen 3)—returns in 2020 with its first new LP in three decades. Kember’s drawn to the year’s numerological potency, and this intentionality shines into every corner of All Things Being Equal. It’s a meditative, mathematical record concerned with the interconnectedness of memory, space, consumerism, consciousness—everything. Through regenerative stories told backwards and forwards, Kember explores dichotomies zen and fearsome, reverential of his analog toolkit and protective of the plants and trees that support our lives.

    Sonic Boom’s second album and first for Carpark began in 2015 as electronic jams. The original sketches of electronic patterns, sequenced out of modular synths, were so appealing that Stereolab’s Tim Gane encouraged Kember to release them instrumentally. “I nearly did,” confesses Kember, “but the vibe in them was so strong that I couldn't resist trying to ice the cake.” Three years later, a move to Portugal saw him dusting off the backing tracks, adding vocals inspired by Sam Cooke, The Sandpipers, and the Everly Brothers (which he admits “don’t go far from the turntable pile”), as well as speculative, ominous spoken word segments. His new home Sintra’s parks and gardens provided a different visual context for Kember’s thoughtful observations, and he thematically incorporated sunshine and nature as well as global protests into the ten resulting tracks. “Music made in sterility sounds sterile,” he says, “And that is my idea of hell.”

    Over the vivid, calculating arps of opener “Just Imagine,” Kember nudges listeners to do as the title suggests. It’s based on a story he read about a boy who healed his cancer by picturing himself as a storm cloud, raining out his illness. “The Way That You Live,” a rollicking drone powered by drum machine rattles and bright chord beds, morphs political distrust into a revolutionary mantra about ethical living. “I try and live my life by voting every day with what I do and how I do it, who I do it with and the love that I can give them along the way,” offers Kember.

    An unusually curated gear list accompanies each song, unexpected layers reinforcing the monophonic skeletons. Mystery soundscapes and grinding sweeps were teased from EMS synths, synonymous with and evocative of ‘60s BBC scoring and ‘70s Eno. Pacing basslines oscillating into warbling heartbeats came from a cheap ‘80s Yamaha. A modern OP-1 generated subtle kicks and eerie theremins, while his toy Music Modem—an unused holdover from sessions Kember produced for Beach House and MGMT—finally found its recorded home.

    It’s rare to see liner notes where synthesizers rather than humans are credited (other than guest vocal stints from “co-conspirators

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Indies Exclusive LP Info: Limited LP comes with foil single sleeve jacket, inner sleeve with lyrics, 12”x12” foil insert with artwork, 12”x19” poster, black vinyl & download – Indies only.

    LP Info: Standard LP comes with single sleeve jacket with matte coating, inner sleeve with lyrics, 12”x12” foil insert with artwork, black vinyl & download.

    CD Info: Gatefold case, 12pg/6-panel insert with lyrics on front, poster on back.

    No Joy / Sonic Boom is Jasamine White-Gluz and Pete Kember. You know Jasamine from her eight-years (and counting) stint as a founding member and principal songwriter of Canadian shoegaze / noise-pop band No Joy. And Pete Kember is Sonic Boom, of Spacemen 3, Spectrum, and E.A.R. While neither can accurately recollect how they met, the pair first touched on the idea of working together in an exchange of emails during the fall of 2015. No Joy had just finished touring on the back of LP More Faithful (their third full-length on the Mexican Summer imprint, and their heaviest to date), and Jasamine was eager to walk a new path. “No Joy functioned as a four-piece ‘rock band’ for so long,” she says. “I wanted to pursue something solo where I collaborated with someone else who could help me approach my songs from a completely different angle. Pete is a legend and someone I’ve admired for a long time. Being able to work with him on this was incredible.”

    What started as a sonic exploration between two friends—passing songs back and forth intercontinentally, with Jasamine writing and producing songs in Montreal and Pete writing, arranging, and producing in Portugal—soon grew into a project of substance, the result being four glistening tracks that dance along the lines of electronica, trip-hop and experimental noise. “I wrote some songs that were intended for a full band and handed them off to Pete, who helped transform them. I barely knew how to use MIDI so I was just throwing him these experiments I was working on and he fine-tuned my ideas. There are barely any guitars on this album, because I was focused on trying to find new ways to create sounds.” The No Joy / Sonic Boom EP begins with the 11+ minute epic “Obsession,” a disco-y dream trance jam that ebbs and flows, before “Slorb” slinks in, casting its seductive spell. “Triangle Probably” rings triumphant, an industrial beat thumping below, the track interwoven with Jasamine’s silvery vocals. “Teenage Panic” begins in celebration, brimming with hope and excitement, and then—a full stop—before striking back in the form of a droning loop that gathers more and more layers as it spins out into the infinite void.

    Ooberon

    Waiting For The Sonic Boom

    Ooberon is the new project from Andy and Steve Flett, members of critically acclaimed Liverpool band Ooberman. "Waiting For The Sonic Boom" comprises eleven sweeping tracks of harmony driven, heartfelt and often dramatic indie-pop. The product of three year's work, writer/producer Andy Flett continues to develop the colourful and ambitious Ooberman style, each track a dazzling mini-epic in its own right.


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