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Spike
Orange Cloud Nine Andy Thomas , December 3rd, 2013 08:20

"If you bought records this year by Lasos, Leon Lowman, or William Onyeabor, or have pre-ordered the Gigi Masin retrospective, then you probably need this." So stated Test Pressing, the 'Balearic Beats, Culture & Design' blog responsible for the typically erudite sleeve notes for this retrospective of cultish Dutch musician Spike Wolters.

Compiled jointly by label head Phil South and Abel Nagenast from Amsterdam's Redlight Records, the beautifully packaged LP (including artwork from clothes designers Perks & Mini) is a fitting tribute to this most enigmatic musician. An outsider who is said to have sued his government for lifetime rights to the dole, Wolters also claimed to have been "stoned every day since March 1973".

Back in the early 1980s from his low budget studio in Holland, he released four progressive but primitive LPs on his own Spike Records label. In a recent interview Wolters declared he was only once directly inspired by another piece of music: "An add on TV for Sunsilk Shampoo; a short clip, beach, sea, long hair blowing in the wind. The music was sort of romantic, the spacey, slow motion like atmosphere captured me…I'm a romantic, a dreamer."

This goes some way to explain the untainted and heady music contained on this timely retrospective of his self produced music. Another artist working outside of current trends and creating his own unique sound from rudimentary electronic equipment was Shuggie Otis, and there are touches of his psychedelic soul on tracks like 'Fooling Around'.  

Even more stripped back, the elegiac electronics of 'New Germany' is just one of the tracks here that place Spike's music alongside the European futurists of the time. Veering between synth soul and cosmic rock 'Baby Love' shows Spike's dexterity and the way he combined machines and guitars. This fusion (that caused Test Pressing's Dr.Rob to name check both Manuel Göttsching and Duane Allman) reached its peak on 'Magic Table', ethereal soul rock that teeters on the edge of nodding out.

"The realisation of what Hendrix had done to his audience, making them go into an altered, dream-like state of mind gave me goose-bumps and a shivering up the spine," Wolters said recently in reference to Woodstock. And by the time the warm haze of 'Goodnight' ("It is a lullaby really; putting my imaginary small child to bed") closes this LP your head might just be similarly re-aligned.

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