Broadcast In Session – 1996 – Past Daily Soundbooth
Broadcast to start the week. Broadcast were an English indie electronic band, founded in Birmingham, England in 1995 by Trish Keenan (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and James Cargill (bass). The band has released three albums as well as several EPs, singles and EP collections, with their first studio album, The Noise Made by People, being released in 2000. Their musical style blends elements of 1960s American psychedelic rock with electronica, incorporating samples from various sources, and earned the band a cult following.
Other members included Roj Stevens (keyboards), Tim Felton (guitar), and Steve Perkins (drums). Drummers including Keith York, Phil Jenkins, Jeremy Barnes and Neil Bullock were also featured in the band. As of 2005, Broadcast consisted only of the duo of Keenan and Cargill. Following the unexpected 2011 death of Keenan, Cargill remained the only member.
The group’s debut studio album, The Noise Made by People, was released by Warp in March 2000. It was self-produced in the group’s own recording studio after having been through three producers to get a particular sound. Regarding the expensive two year production of the album, Keenan said, “There [were] no financial benefits in getting it right.” The band issued two EPs in the same year, Extended Play and Extended Play Two.
Their second album, Haha Sound, was released in August 2003, preceded by two EPs, Microtronics Volume 01: Stereo Recorded Music for Links and Bridges and Pendulum. Recording sessions for the album took place in fragments at various locations: Keenan recorded vocal tracks with her head in a cardboard box which gave it a “closeness and deadness that makes it sit in the mix a bit nicer,” while drummer Bullock recorded drum tracks in a neighborhood church before overdubbing guitar tracks and additional arrangements. Haha Sound became their first charting album in the United States, reaching No. 8 in the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. While touring the United States to promote Haha Sound, the group recruited American drummer Jeremy Barnes to perform their live shows. Felton departed after Haha Sound to form a new project, Seeland, with Billy Bainbridge (formerly of another Birmingham Warp act, Plone).
Broadcast’s next album, Tender Buttons, was issued in September 2005. It was their first album as a duo of Keenan and Cargill. A second compilation of B-sides and rarities, The Future Crayon, was issued in August 2006.
Broadcast released a collaborative album with the Focus Group (aka graphic designer and Ghost Box label co-owner Julian House) called Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age in October 2009. The band was chosen by Matt Groening to perform at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival he curated in May 2010 in Minehead, Somerset, England.
Keenan died on 14 January 2011 at the age of 42, following complications with pneumonia, which she suffered from after earlier contracting H1N1. Cargill, the sole remaining member, said in a 2011 interview with Under the Radar that a new Broadcast album was in the works, featuring vocals recorded by Keenan shortly before her death. He later said: “Trish left a lot of tapes, four-tracks and stuff, and I’ve been going through those. It’s difficult, and I’m connected to it at the same time. It’s wonderful, but I’m also feeling a sense of loss. The next thing I release with Trish on it will be more like a monument and a tribute to her rather than this obsessive thing I used to have about making albums.” As of 2018, however, the album has not been released.
As a reminder, here is their first session for John Peel, as it was aired on October 16, 1996