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Baker's Dozen

Parallel Worlds: Peter Strickland's Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , June 3rd, 2014 13:03

On the occasion of the Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga director releasing Wasp Boutique, a collaboration between Art-Errorist and Zsolt Sőrés, on his record label, and with a new feature film on the way, he sits down with Colm McAuliffe to talk 13 formative favourites


Broadcast - The Noise Made By People
Most of the time, I'm hopelessly late discovering bands, but I'm quite proud of discovering Broadcast from their second single, 'Living Room', in the summer of 1996. It came out on Stereolab's Duophonic Super 45s label, so of course I would always buy anything on that label without even the need to listen first. I quite liked the 'Living Room' single, but wasn't crazy about it. I saw them live at Reading that summer. Again, they were quite good, but it wasn't life-changing. Then The Book Lovers EP came out a month or so later and that was something very special. On the strength of that EP I became impatient to hear their debut album, but the years rolled by with no news of anything.

Broadcast appeared again in late 1999 and I saw their show in Brick Lane, which was one of the best gigs I've ever been to. When the album came out, it didn't disappoint. 'Come On Let's Go' is one of my all-time favourite songs of all time along with their recent 'The Be Colony' with The Focus Group. 'Papercuts' was the only track on the debut album that left me feeling indifferent, otherwise everything else casts such a spell, particularly 'Echo's Answer'.

As with all the bands I love, Broadcast are as much about creating a world as they are about making music. A lot of that is also down to their work with Julian House whose artwork, visuals and musical contributions seemed to naturally bleed into the Ghost Box label and aesthetic. The Trunk and Finders Keepers labels also feel as if they germinated from the same world, particularly the Valerie... soundtrack on the latter label.

I can't think of another way to put it, but Broadcast often reminded me of Alice In Wonderland, in that their music offered the listener a portal to enter in which lay a labyrinth of hidden books, films and music. They had that rare ability to make their influences actually feel as if they were themselves influenced by Broadcast even if their creators had long since passed away before Broadcast started.

Broadcast are one of the greatest bands I've ever heard. I still have to pinch myself when remembering that they scored Berberian Sound Studio. I met Roj Stevens from the band by chance in very prosaic circumstances at a stag night in Nottingham ten years ago. I was sitting opposite him at a curry house amongst a large table of blokes, not remotely recognising him until he muttered that he used to be in Broadcast, and that was after several beers and questioning about the music he liked. It's tragic that Trish Keenan was taken from this world so soon. Her passing robbed the world of one of the most divinely gifted singer/songwriters of my generation.