Back in 2009, Hot Chip co-frontman Alexis Taylor linked up with Spritualized / Spring Heel Jack member John Coxon, This Heat drummer Charles Hayward, and former Derek Bailey collaborator Pat Thomas to form About Group.
The band originally formed to make a record of improvised music for the Treader label, having never played together before as a whole group. The album took them a day to make. After a clutch of live performances (supporting Gang Gang Dance, playing Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown Festival and even Glastonbury, among others) they regrouped to record their second album ‘Start and Complete’, another one day recording affair.
Start and Complete was recorded at Abbey Road Studios. It is a collection of songs that blur the line between improvisation and good ol’ fashioned songwriting structure, as intimate sounding as the environment in which they were created. In order to keep a level of spontaneity in the recording Taylor wrote all the songs and gave ‘bare-bones’ demos of them to his bandmates just a few days before they recorded. The result gives the album a live-in-the-studio feel with a rotating line up of drums, wurlitzer, organ, piano, electric guitar and electronic textures as well as Taylor’s yearning vocal lines.
It’s in no way an ‘in your face’ record, but something far more thoughtful, engineered by the group’s instincts to create subtle shifts in the music’s direction and tone, something which becomes even more apparent when Thomas’ electronic flourishes take centre stage at points throughout the album.
‘Start and Complete’ is released on Domino on 18th April 2011 and is available on CD, vinyl and digitally.
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