The Vapourer

Spiro, 2013

New six-track mini album of Moog synthesizer mixes by Adrian Utley (Portishead) - which transport Spiro's music to an ethereal place somewhere between Sci-Fi, Bach and Kraftwerk - plus a new recording and three dazzling live tracks.

For those already familiar with Spiro's thoroughly modernist take on generations-old English tunes, The Vapourer presents something a little different. With tracks recorded by Portishead's Adrian Utley - two arranged by Adrian for Moog synthesizers -- and three live recordings, the new mini album spotlights this highly unique quartet's approach to music making.

The Moog arrangements of 'We Will Be Absorbed' and 'The Vapourer' sit in an ethereal place where Bach meets Kraftwerk meets Sci Fi. Intriguingly strange yet reassuringly familiar, the retro synth treatment curiously reinforces both the underlying classical principals of the compositions, and the rhythmic, hypnotic shimmer of repetition which testify to the band's interest in systems and dance music.

The unexpected coupling of Spiro and Moog came about after Alex Vann (mandolin) went to see the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble at St George's Hall in Bristol, which Adrian was playing in. Alex was blown away by the sound of the Moogs in Will's 'Tim Henman Suite' and when he enthused to Adrian after the gig, Adrian suggested trying a Spiro track on Moog. "It's fascinating for us to hear someone outside the band reworking our material, especially given that the sounds he's used are nothing like our instruments. The result is wonderfully other-worldly," says Jon Hunt (guitar). "Adrian also invited us to record a new track in his Bristol studio crammed with delicious vintage analogue gear, so we recorded 'The Vapourer', which started its life in Winnipeg during the excellent festival there."

The three tracks recorded at WOMAD Charlton Park 2012 capture the sheer energy and dazzling musicianship of the live Spiro experience, described by The Arts Desk as "...hypnotic and fluid enough to have a distinctly physical effect" and by The Scotsman as"gorgeous melodies and grooves ... iridescent vitality and rigorous technical precision ... with a sprinkling of mischief."

"The audiences at WOMAD are amongst the best you could ever play to and thankfully you can hear their contribution on these recordings," explains Jon." I remember when we played 'Shaft' there was this wave of energy that swept across the audience and we just got swept along by it."

Reviews

  • New tracks give sideways looks at West Country folk minimalists First comes a new track, with their characteristic traded patterns, like Terry Riley performed by Fairport Convention. Then two of their tunes are arranged for antique Moog synthesisers by Portishead's Adrian Utley, making the same material sound like lost Tangerine Dream; finally, three live numbers from Spiro, with an extra edge of energy in performance. FT.com