Tendrils Malvern Brume

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ALTER is proud to present ‘Tendrils’, the first LP release from London based artist & musician Malvern Brume. After gathering some hushed praise from the UK underground for a couple of excellent cassette releases and strong local live performances, ‘Tendrils’ is the first definitive document of the Malvern Brume sound world. His instrumentation and sound sources would be considered familiar staples in the world of “experimental” music, but Salter does an admirable job of making them his own. Comprised of 8 pieces, this is electronic music at its core but a kind that sounds as if it’s being played through fog. Like spores growing on a damp surface. Densely composed and thick with an almost asphyxiating atmosphere – even during the record’s more minimal moments – track titles like ‘Caught In The Exhaust Trails’ and ‘Sunk Into Plastics’ only heighten the tone further.

Salter was originally born in the countryside and since relocated to London, a place he finds “over stimulating in every sense”. Much of ‘Tendrils’ could be taken as a response to the city and a means of equating the two. Camberwell is listed as the location for composition, but field recordings are attributed to rural landmarks. The Rollright Stones on the Oxfordshire / Warwickshire border and Seven Sisters Cliffs by the English Channel are two in case, but despite their picturesque origins Salter renders them into abstract clatter. As if dubbed from the private tape archive of an old eccentric. In addition, synthesised electronic tones hum and buzz, occasionally giving away to strange, slurring sequences that sound like lost transmissions from the radiophonic workshop. Despite the nod to this electronic music institution, it’s lacking the sincere level of esteem that can turn one into a heritage act. There is a strangeness and distant other worldliness to the music that feels unselfconscious and keeps Malvern Brume from being easy to define by contemporary terms.

Salter says the album is defined by movement and the environments that have inspired him over the years. In his own words, “each of these tracks is inspired by a journey or moving through a space, an audible A to B”. With that in mind, ‘Tendrils’ is perfect music for solitary inner-city marshland walks and urban bike rides to forgotten local suburbs.

ALT54 Released 5 June 2020