Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New "Big Block 454" Album

This may seem weird, but this is a post about a band I don't particularly like called Big Block 454.

Admittedly, I've only heard one release of theirs, the 2008 album Bratislava, so I'll amend my statement to saying I didn't like the album I heard from them. It left me cold. Strange, given my penchant for this type of music. They play avant-garde/psych rock and have a very distinctive sound.
However, since they do seem to have fans, I'm posting about them in the case you might be interested in their music and in case you'd like to know they have a new release. One that I heard some snippets of and will continue to do so, as there may be hope for me changing my mind about them.
The album is called Bells & Proclamations and was released on their Bandcamp on February 28th, as a Pay-What-You-Want-Download, which is the case for their other two albums up there.

Here's their bio as written by my fellow reviewer Olav at Prog Archives:
"Uk act BIG BLOCK 454 started out in 1988, founded by Colin Robinson and Pete Scullion. They made their debut with the single Know What This Is? in 1990, and five years later they made their next move, contributing with the music for the art installation Measured in Shadows by dada artists Russell Mills and Ian Walton.

A flurry of releases followed in the next few years, several of them official releases of productions previously available on cassette only. In 1998 this was the case for I Changed My Dentist... I Changed Him Into a Horse (first issued on cassette in 1995) and Three Lucky Boys (first issued on cassette in 1994), while the EP They'd Bought a Packard consisted of new material.

In 1999 the only compilation album by the band saw the light of day in the shape of Rough as Sausages, released on the at the time highly popular and influential website, while the albums Strange Ululations and Fistula! both were film scores with brand new material.

In 2000 the EP That's a Nice Hat appeared, and in 2004 a new studio album appeared in the shape of Their Coats Flapped Like God's chops.

Throughout these first 14 years of the band's history a variety of musicians were involved: Colin Robinson (vocals, various instruments), Pete Scullion (guitars, vocals), Melissa Sinden (vocals), Emma Scott (vocals), Alex Stone (guitars, vocals, accordion), Mark Joell (keyboards, vocals), Robert Shaw (drums), Liam Robinson (guitars) and Neil Newsome (air-raid siren).

By 2007 they were reduced to a trio though, with Robinson, Stone and Joell remaining. This slimmed down version of the band issued the so far arguably best known production by Big Block 454: 2008's Bratislava.

Big Block 454 describe themselves as a semi-amorphous post-modern / situationist neo-dada cross-platform compositional construct from Manchester, England (featuring people from Liverpool, Leeds and Lincolnshire). They cite Faust, Can, Brian Eno, The Residents, the Bonzo Dog Band, King Crimson and the BBC Radiophonics Workshop as their main infuences."

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