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STEREO EMBERS EXCLUSIVE PREMIER – Stream SPC ECO’s new album “Anomalies” PLUS read a track-by-track breakdown from band members Dean Garcia & Rose Berlin

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As the legendary PR guy (and label owner, store owner, festival organizer, and, we dunno, wizard?) Mike Turner quipped when sending us the links and personal rundowns of tracks found on new album Anomalies and included herein, “It must be six months later because there’s a new SPC ECO album.” And while it’s indeed the case that it’s been less than a year since the last album from erstwhile Curve auteur Dean Garcia and singer-enchantress (and Dean’s daughter) Rose Berlin’s previous effort Dark Matter, now we at least know, thanks to the band-provided intro to the track breakdown, how such super-human productivity is possible. Mind you, we still think it defies normal mortal stamina, but nonetheless it’s good to have some basic understanding as to how the two could conceivably produce a pair of such full-length stunners in the time it takes many of us to figure out that latest app we downloaded. So OK, here’s our (very strong) suggestion: Hit the Soundcloud link, let yourself get immediately enveloped in the sharp shimmers of Anomalies‘ transportive trance, and while there read Dean and Rose’s personally-penned thoughts and reflections as they take you through the album from beginning to end. Pretty cool, huh? It’s like a travel guide, only the shadowed alleyways and shape-shifting neon shadows you’ll be veering in and out of are actually behind your eyes in your own head. We can’t think of a better way to be introduced to this captivating album. Oh, and when it’s all over? Well, you can either rinse and repeat, or, if and when you’re ready to move on, you can read our take on it here. And though we say this in just about the least hippy way imaginable, happy trails. [feature photo courtesy Saint Marie Records]



The album is recorded much in the same way as all SPC ECO records are. We work on a number of tracks over a period of time and piece together the results in a pick-of-the-crop type way; some get ignored some get placed out of the way for review and others forgotten about until such a time they are rediscovered. Anomalies consists of nine of these recordings that we felt worked together as well as being a natural follow on from the previous Dark Matter album In fact some of the recordings fall into the category above, ie not chosen for the Dark Matter recordings and put aside for later. That’s the way we have always worked, record as much as possible all of the time with no particular concept or idea. We’ve found that following your instincts when recording is always best rather than trying to write something with a predestined theme that generally ends up nothing like you imagined it or it gets lost in its own lostness because you’ve attached to many restrictions to it from the off. This is why we don’t shy away from genres or any other tag associated with bands as to what they sound like. We want to sound like the way we feel at the time. If that’s noisy manic miserable lo-fi poppy gazey arty miserable trip hop then so be it, undefined yet very definitely glued by our distinctive production sensibilities and of course Rose’s voice. We explore the things we love, doesn’t matter about the core and the source it’s all about the now and the moment while making it. One of the reasons we called the record Anomalies is for this reason. They are all an anomaly in time, created in the now with no pre-considered idea of what they should be at any stage of the recording. We allow them to breathe and develop on their own by simply applying instinctive sounds, manipulating and editing the elements until they work with each other to the point at which the song feels done. Lyrically exploring topical moments of that time, be it personal or not. The music and vocals are an anomaly unto themselves, put together and affected subconsciously and influenced by the life going on around us at that time. Rose and I often dip into the “where did that come from” place, and the truth is we don’t know where these recordings come from nor want to really, we just know how to tap into it and make it happen. Anomalies they are and always will be.

Out of My System
(Rose) The song is about the feeling you get when you are coming to the end of a relationship. It’s sad but in the case of this song it has something a bit more sinister about it. For me I think it’s about plucking up the courage to end a relationship. I felt very stuck when this was written which I think is reflected in the tone of the vocals. The melodies feel a bit like chants, they roll with the bass line. The voice stays pretty centered and low and doesn’t veer off. The harmonies at the end to me act like the two voices in my head that were battling against one another…should I stay or should I go.
(Dean) This feels like an extension from The Art Of Pop era of recording, it has that Drive thing, soaked in melancholy, bleak yet not miserable, The track came together very quickly and has a memorable solo chainsaw break in the middle. This is Rose and I at our bleak pop best.

(Rose) This is one of my favourite tracks on the whole album. For me this song is about not being able to function without something or someone that deep down you know isn’t good for you. It’s not about the supposed bad thing really, though, its about the feeling you get by experiencing it. The madness, helplessness and just pure isolation associated with it. You question your sanity “How can you possibly be a sane human being if you feel like this?” The vocal swirls around you. Sometimes there are lyrics and then sometimes there are not, which I like, it enhances the weirdness.
(Dean) This song started with the desending riff you hear at the beginning and developed from there, sonically broad, with attention to detail within the spacing and soundscape textures throughout the song. It breathes as it weaves. A noticeable yet minimal subsonic to the track adds to the mystique and charm, the perfect backdrop for Rose to own and deliver a perfectly realised vocal take.

Bare to Lie
(Rose) This track is about freedom and the power you feel after finally doing something you have wanted to do for a long time. It’s about looking back and going why didn’t I do this years ago and talking to the people involved and asking how and why they didn’t do anything about it either? I love the chorus in this track. It just feels really epic and I loved singing it. I’m normally quite soft and quiet so it was nice to play around with dynamics. I’ve always loved the way Thom York can go from really frail and soft to a guttural scream. His voice is so full of emotion and I was having a go at channeling Mr York In this one. I think I have a way to go yet but I enjoyed it.
(Dean) I worked for quite a while on this piece, there’s a lot of depth and attention to detail, the down tempo has an insistent quality that pushes you without being uptempo about it, it’s like being playfully pushed or shunted by a close friend as you walk down the street. The string element that is sunk within the track on the chorus took ages to get, but it’s one of the best adds for me on the record, really odd and complex without being a show off about it. The way it sits with Rose’s voice is magical. This track is a sci-fi epic with a large dose of unhinged sonic dust.

Your Own Way
(Rose) We do love a ballad now and again don’t we? Dad and I are suckers for pop and I don’t think there’s any harm in indulging every now and again. I loved singing this one too. I can remember doing the first vocal take it just came out, some tracks just work like that. I really felt this one. It was a little chant to myself I think to keep my head up. I have this saying “Gotta keep going, never ever stop” and I think this is simply extension of that. It’s okay to be you and everything is going to be alright. ”We’re all made of stars you knew it all along”.
(Dean) As I listen to this is reminds me of a Scandinavian noir tour through the crisp countryside, we had this piece for a long while with the voice comped from the first take ideas that Rose made, it was a challenge to recreate the original vocal deliverance and character as melodically it twists and turns a lot, so a big nod to Rose is in order here for the end result. The music all hangs on the piano arpeggio loop that goes throughout the song, I just changed the bass notes and added a bit of dust here n there.

Silent Maybe
(Rose) It’s really interesting listening back to this album now to try and explain and give a bit of insight into these songs, as I can hear what I was going through at the time. With this song in particular it’s clear to me now that I was really sad. My life had changed a lot and it was exciting at first but I can hear in this song the moments when this new way of life became normal and every-day. I can hear how reality had started to set in and cracks had started to appear. I think a “silent maybe” is an unspoken truth that you can’t quite admit to yourself yet, it builds up and the darkness runs out of places to go and you realise it’s just the same as before….DARK!!!! lol
(Dean) Poor Rose, brutally struck by the ordinary everyday grind of despair that life has a way of showing us. I’m convinced of the recurring theme as to the reason we make these songs, it is a therapy that we both need to understand and deal with things that gestate in the mind. Sonically this track has a bite ‘n’ kick to it, it’s also one of the most dense pieces we’ve done in a while. I went into the guitars a bit with this one, still leaning on the downbeat thing, I just got a bit wall of sound in the chorus which is always fun. Monti added some noisy old school Superblaster fills as well which is always good. This track stands on it’s own with the over scheme and setting of the record but we do enjoy a step into the big noisy band thing now and then.

Think Twice
(Rose) This song gives two perspectives of a situation that ended up happening after I wrote this which is really weird! Be careful what you write about!!! I love this track though its so trip hop and chilled. I had so much fun with the vocal. I really went for it and tried to move around as much as I could. It’s sinister and soft and the same time. I like the guitar solo thing that is actually my voice! We’ve done that quite a lot on this album actually.
(Dean) Rose is a very original lead guitarist, if you ever want a solo forget whoever is known for those and just ask Rose instead. This recording is both haunting and old school trip, we need to take this down to our buddies in Bristol and spend a long night in a smoky club drinking distinctive cocktails while watching the smoke drift as we play this out to the like minded chilled folk. The bass is very Python Lee Jackson which has always been a great fave and influence of mine. Good.

(Rose) This song is very close to my heart. This was the first (and last) song I ever shared the lyric writing process with someone other than Dad. Generally I write the lyrics on my own and then dad and I will go through them and make tweaks where we see fit. This was very different. I wrote this song with someone I was falling in love with. The track started out very, very different to this and it almost didn’t make it onto this album because it was so so SO sickly sweet. In my head it didn’t matter because it was more about the process. But then I had my heart broken and had to revisit the song. I couldn’t bare leaving it the way it was so we went back and I rewrote the words and it actually really helped me through that awful time. It’s real and it’s sad and it’s dark and over-the-top dramatic and yes it’s pop. I love it…it makes me cry but I love it.
(Dean) This was written for Rose, as said we do like a poptastic ballad and this is a good example of us being musically playful but not straying too far from the bleak and downbeat, there were a few journeys with the music and production both lyrically, melodically and musically, it’s an odd one but I do like it as it was for something in particular and that is always somewhat personal, relevant and special. That said I do have issues with this song that I find difficult, but that’s cool. Deal with it fam.

All in Time
(Rose) I love the vocal effect on this track. There’s a lot of stigma when it comes to a vocoder and how it is used. We use it as an effect, like a reverb or a distortion; it’s not a tool that we use so I don’t have to worry about being in key! I use it to bring out melodies that I may not have found. The effect we use “weirds “out from time to time and jiggles the notes as my voice gets softer (we think it’s because I’m not loud enough so it has a freak out) sometimes it sucks but sometimes it’s really cool and odd. It’s actually really hard to make it sound any good at all. It’s a challenge and I like it. It’s like tuning your guitar to an odd key suddenly everything you know gets turned on its head…
(Dean) This started out as something that Monti sent me for the M A D album, but I developed it with Rose and it become something else, we could have used it for the M A D record but I dunno it just works here. Very Massive, sub tone feel to it, cool textures and bleeps. I dunno what else to say about it other than I really like it. Well said Rose re: the Vox effect we use, some people get all shirty and luddite about it but if you see it as an effect much in the same way you would use a guitar effect to get you in the zone and make you do things you otherwise would not, to me the whole recording process is about that, the key is to ignore the ‘can’t do’ distractions that like to interfere and just do whatever you want.

Lost in a crowd
(Rose) Love this little gem. This was almost all one-take, words and everything. I ended up re-doing the vocal though because I just wanted it to be perfect. I also love it because you get two for one!! The first part is about acceptance and was written as a message for someone I care a lot about. The little ping at the beginning was him texting me whilst we were recording. We liked it so much that we sampled it and repeated it over and over to make the second part! The vocal was taken from a few takes we did one after another and chose our favourites. I’d love to do a whole album like this, taking samples from the track before to make the next one and so on…love it.
(Dean) A very satisfying way to drift out of this record, the creative recording process we stumbled upon as Rose explained does inspire us both to make a record using the accidental and incidental elements that always occur in every recording in a way that develops the following track and so on. It’s very conceptual and arty which is very appealing to us both so I think we may well explore that in the future.
Anomalies additional bonus tracks ( digital Bandcamp release only )
Out Of Your Control
Favourite Colour
In Doubt
False Start