Archives for posts with tag: hauntological

Islet is a Welsh experimental psychedelic-electronic trio from Powys and their most recent album “Eyelet” is an intriguing journey through their hyper-active imaginations. Here’s the opening track “Caterpillar”:

“Caterpillar” starts with a woozy slow vibrato strummed guitar chord like an LP pressed off-center, before bass, percussion and other noises layers up and Emma Daman Thomas weaves a dreamy caterpillar-paced reflection on the larval pre-metamorphic state of being. Or something like that. “Caterpillar” is fitting entry point for an album where songs often change shape from familiar terrestrial beginnings to become the most extraordinary patterned creatures which then fly into the sun.

The opening song, and then the whole album, creates its own weirdly unusual-yet-familiar world-within-a-world while sounding like nothing much else. Yet Islet’s “Eyelet” (everyone loves a good homophone word-play) is likely to hold instinctive appeal to anyone who loves the music of the likes of Goldfrapp, Jane Weaver, Broadcast, Boards of Canada, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Vanishing Twin, Molly Nilsson, and even Primal Scream circa “Screamadelica”.

The trio of Emma and Mark Daman Thomas, and Alex Williams combine analogue and electronic instruments, voices, sampled sounds and reality-warping effects to create a hyper-saturated and exhilarating psychedelic pop fantasia.

Islet offer an intriguing back-catalogue as well, with two albums (Illuminated People, 2012 and Released By The Movement, 2013) and several EPs on their own label, Shape Records prior to this Fire Records release. Islet’s most recent release prior to the album was the 2016 EP “Liquid Half Moon”.

There’s a lot to love about this album, but right now the unpredictability of the songs and sounds is something special – and (serious) fun. Nothing runs a predictable course. A song that starts out like a fairly conventional kind of lo-fi synth pop or electronic dance tune will eventually change shape and spin out into a crushing-live-drums-with-samples sonic mélange that spirals off in unexpected directions.


Day 26 of the 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month via Bandcamp comes to you from the tiny coastal settlement of Taieri Mouth, south west of Dunedin and the ‘intimate psychedelia’ of Maxine Funke’s ‘Old Gold’ from the album ‘Lace’.

The music of Maxine Funke on ‘Lace’ is the sound recording equivalent of snapshots found in a mildewed photo album in a shed; faded sepia, black & white & colour photos, curling up at the edges; a moment from a timeless time in a placeless place.

‘Lace’ was compiled over several years and originally released on Alastair Galbraith’s Next Best Way label. (Alastair plays on half the songs and recorded the album). It’s just recently been made available via Bandcamp. There’s a more recent album called ‘Felt’ which came out on LP on Wellington label Epic Sweep Records in a limited edition of 100 (long since sold out) but still available to download here.


I first discovered Broadcast late in 2010. I’m not sure how this English ‘retro-futurist’ experimental art-pop band escaped my attention for a decade. Like a creepier and more adventurous Stereolab, Broadcast take a very English journey through music evoking imaginary old children’s TV theme music and art-house movie soundtracks. What makes it distinctive is the blend of Trish Keenan’s calmly haunting singing, sometimes strange surreal/ absurdist lyrics, jazzy break-beat drumming and assorted elderly synth tones and BBC Radiophonic Workshop style bleeps and noises.

I became so captivated with Broadcast I’ve been steadily buying everything I can find. I’ve had a compilation of it all playing continually in my car for the past month. Tragically, Singer Trish Keenan died from pneumonia early in 2011, making their odd, dreamy, timeless pop even more haunted and affecting.

The best place to start discovering Broadcast is at the beginning. The compilation of early EPs called ‘The Future Crayon’ is a good way to round the best of those up. The best place to obtain the Broadcast catalogue is at

Here’s Broadcast performing ‘Unchanging Window’ on Later…

There is a new Broadcast album out on Warp Records early in 2013. It is collected together from a film soundtrack Broadcast were working on at the time of Trish’s untimely death.

This review of the album by Alexis Petridis in the UK newspaper The Guardian also has a bit more background on the band:

There is a very candid, informative & interesting interview with Trish from 2001 which appeared in #14 of Chickfactor fanzine: