Appliance in session tonight. Recorded on September 6, 1998 for John Peel and broadcast on October 6 over BBC Radio 1.
Appliance were a British experimental post-rock three piece band, who released four albums between 1999 and 2003 on Mute Records. Formed in Exeter in 1995, the band originally comprised James Brooks (guitar), David Ireland (percussion) and Stuart Christie (bass). Christie left in 1995 to form Harmony 400, and was replaced by Michael Parker.
They released three 10-inch vinyl EPs on various independent record labels, including their own self-financed Surveillance Records, before signing with Daniel Miller’s Mute Records in 1999.
The band’s first album for mute was Manual (1999), and was positively received by critics.
The mini-album Six Modular Pieces followed in 2000, an album of “droning, atmospheric” tracks, described by Allmusic as “lo-fi garage numbers with layers of textured guitars, bleep effects, and vintage synthesizers”, and regarded by the NME as “a creative breakthrough”.
Imperial Metric (2002) was seen as more diverse, with Allmusic’s Tim DiGravina identifying Neu!, Joy Division and The Velvet Underground as influences, describing the album as “deceptively complex, melodic, and timeless mood music”. Pitchfork’s Paul Cooper saw it as an improvement on their previous work, calling it “a fascinating blend of post-punk dub, primitive electronics, and Soviet-menace nostalgia”. Noel Gardner, reviewing for the NME was less impressed, viewing the music as dated, and calling the band “just another troupe of high-minded post-rock paranoiacs”.
The band’s fourth album, Are You Earthed? (2003) had what Billboard described as “a more organic sound”. It was well-received by Allmusic, with Ned Raggett giving it a four-star review, while CMJ New Music Monthly’s Richard M. Juzwiak was less impressed. Both Mojo and Uncut gave it 7/10 ratings.
Championed by John Peel, the band recorded five Peel Sessions during their career, also making the 1999 Festive Fifty with “Food Music”, and one in 2003 for Jeff Cooper’s radio2XS.
They toured live in Europe and the UK with, amongst others, Add N to X, Goldfrapp, Snow Patrol, Six By Seven, Hefner and Wire. The band have not performed or recorded since the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2003.
This is their first session for Peel. And in case you missed them the first time around, here’s your second chance.
Take it and run with it.