14 April 2023
Sudden Voices is the first release of a new project by Ben Morris, who is returning to music after a hiatus of more than fifteen years. Ben previously served time in Union Wireless, a London-based post\kraut\experimental-rock band who meandered their way through the late 1990s, releasing two albums before going their separate ways in the early 2000s.
Despite this Ben didn't completely abandon music and spent many of the intervening years tinkering with vintage organs and singing in choirs. This informs much of Sudden Voices' music, where chanted vocals fight for attention with repetitive grooves and acoustic instruments, combining into a warm, organic psychedelia.
Songs are written through improvisation with a fixed set of instruments, helping to give the songs an experimental feel without sacrificing a melodic edge or sense of coherence. Influences range from the metronomic groove of krautrock, through to the space jazz of "Bitches Brew", via a clear fondness for Suicide, Talk Talk, and the Fall. The results are shot through with a DIY work ethic and low-fi sensibility, as well as an ear for a good tune.
This cohesive base allows the sound to break out in unexpected directions, from the dream-like drones of "In single file" to the deranged guitars of "That's all we have", via the hypnotic repetition of "Happenstance". Rhythm is an important part of this record, and tracks like "Milk and honey", "Fixed orbit", and "Way of the world" are each driven by a flowing pulse with hints of ragged funk.
Songs are allowed to evolve at their own pace, which contrasts with the idea of tailoring songs to playlists, hitting the "good part" within thirty seconds, and polishing everything to a characterless sheen. That said, nothing outstays its welcome and the record clocks in at just over half an hour.
“Sudden Voices is a delight... there's a depth here, nothing is ever obvious but then again, nothing is too difficult, there's a delightful flow to it all, a delight in the crafted detail, the care taken.”
“Morris has used his time away from music wisely, developing and stretching out his ideas, and on Sudden Voices' self-titled debut, he executes them to great effect in what is a fine return indeed.”
“A fascinating mash-up of jazz sensibility with Krautrock motorik on an album that mesmerizes with repetition.”
“A bold experimental spirit, mixing kraut with jazz, and art rock with new wave & post punk. What if Can jammed in the same studio with This Heat & Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk; Well, this might have been their bastard child!”
Last Day Deaf
“Sudden Voices has a foot in multiple musical camps, keeping a sturdy indie rock foundation when it suits it, but veering into post-rock and playing with less “traditional” song structures just as naturally.”
“Milk and Honey's lush, analog psychedelia fluctuates in peculiar surges, and is driven by a moving groove, coming across as a refined combination between contemporary jazz and krautrock sounds.”
|Milk and honey
|Way of the world
|That's all we have
|In single file
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