soundCHECK 188 – February 21st 2012

I recently made a TV documentary. It was about a toothy middle-aged woman who lived with her son in Bristol.

Their house was dark, unkempt and dusty, but generous in size. Just as well too, because this woman – I never actually got her name – was the happy owner of sixteen dogs. Sixteen. One of them had red fur, its busy tail rousing various detritus from the kitchen corner as it nipped at some of the other dogs – who hid under sideboards looking haggard and ready for nothing but the cold embrace of the grave.

The woman’s son had just one dog: a playful, blue-eyed border collie named Terrence. When I met them, the son and the dog were wearing matching white t-shirts with vous aimez mon dubstep in thick black lettering across the chest next to a picture of a small red heart. You see, Terrence had a particular penchant for making dubstep belters – and he was huge on the French club scene.

Terrence readied a 7-inch and played me a track.

It sounded weird. Like a small piece of plastic vibrating rhythmically on a wooden desk, with a woozy high-frequency melody akin to pixies playing a glockenspiel. Had I heard this before? It sounded exactly like the alarm on my mobile phone. Wait. It was the alarm on my mobile phone. And clearly a goat’s cheese dinner is a fine architect of joyfully leftfield dreams.

Terrence doesn’t exist in the real world (whatever that is). Yet such night-time tales sustain my spirits through the cruel, depressing winter. Happily, you and I will soon be shot of winter’s icy clutches. You can tell because summer music festivals are beginning to release details of their line-ups. Ben Howard, Basement Jaxx and The Vaccines will headline Boardmasters 2013 in Newquay. Xavier Rudd and Willy Mason head to Croyde for GoldCoast Oceanfest. And Sigur Ros, Belle & Sebastian and Poliça play End Of The Road in Dorset.

Finally, congratulations to (previously North Devon-based) Spectres, who have been selected to play at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton this May. There’ll be a Spectres special next week. For now, content yourselves that theirs is a sound of bludgeoning rhythms behind scything, feedback-framed guitars that are as cutting as a cocaine cocktail.

Then again, who needs drugs when you can have a Babybel and a snooze?

CONTACT: Make music? Want to be in soundCHECK? Email jharper[at] or tweet @testforpulse and I’ll make your dreams come true.



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