Spectralate were formed in the north Wales island of Anglesey by multi instrumentalists (but primarily guitarists) Annie Muriel and Alan Holmes in March 2014 and have released four LPs to date - the debut "The Students' Companion" was released on July 21st 2015, followed by "All Terrain Badgers" on April 29th 2016, the Leonard Cohen tribute album " Spectralating Leonard" on 1st January 2017 and the the third full album of original songs "Unit 21" on October 2nd 2017. All albums were released on the Turquoise Coal label and as with many of the label's releases, come as a vinyl LP that also includes a CD version. There is also a 4-track companion CD EP "Cydymaith y Myfyrwyr" featuring Welsh language interpretations of songs from the debut LP. The albums and EP are available from Turquoise Coal and in selected independent shops and online outlets.
Spectralate’s Annie Muriel and Alan Holmes originally came together during 2013 as part of a loose collective of musicians and songwriters based around the late night bohemian scene in the local bar where Annie worked at the time. By March 2014, other figures in the group had drifted away and Annie and Alan decided to continue their musical relationship as a duo, settling on the name Spectralate. It was only in retrospect that they realised that this decision was made on 14th March 2014 - international Pi day, which seemed serendipitous, given Annie’s surname.
Spectralate formed an unusually democratic and productive modus operandi, every aspect of their songs - chords, melodies, lyrics, instrumentation, vocals, production - contributed equally to by both members. Throughout this process, the pair initially avoided discussion of any external music, each knowing very little of what the other listened to. Despite this unusual methodology, the collaboration yielded over thirty songs in the first couple of months - a repertoire which has steadily grown since, with three albums ‘in the can’ even before the actual release of the first one.
The duo plays live infrequently in a stripped down form, their debut concert being at Chester’s Telford’s Warehouse in November 2014, on the invitation of BBC Radio Wales DJ Adam Walton, who has been a supporter of the group since the start.
The debut Spectralate LP, entitled ‘The Students’ Companion’ in tribute to Wilfred D. Best’s classic book of the same name, was released on July 21st 2015 on the Turquoise Coal label, the duo’s only previous release having been a track on the international compilation CD ‘Past / Present / Future 2’ which was released by the Frankfurt based label Pure Pop For Now People in Summer 2014. Welsh language radio station BBC Radio Cymru’s support of the record led to the duo swiftly following it up with a CD EP of Welsh versions of four of the songs from the LP, entitled ’Cydymaith y Myfyrwyr’.
The second LP ’All Terrain Badgers’ followed a mere nine months after the debut, on April 29th 2016: a date significant to the duo as being the day when Alan became twice Annie’s age, and coincidentally, Annie became half Alan’s age.
Around the same time, Spectralate also contributed their version of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci’s “Sunmoonstar” to the tribute album “Iechyd Da!” on the Recordiau Prin label
By chance, the next release came out another nine months later in January 2017, being an album entirely of versions of Leonard Cohen songs, to mark the passing of the great artist who had recently passed away, having been a huge influence on both members of the duo.
Once again continuing the nine month gestation period, the third album of original songs, 'Unit 21' was released on October 2nd 2017 - the second anniversary of the untimely death of Alan's school friend and long term collaborator Maeyc - several songs being about him in various oblique or direct ways. The entire album takes on a theme of loss, both of close friends and in a wider way, of the communiity of the European Union that we had forged over the past 40 years. It is as a result, a darker and more angry album that the first two. The title is the name of a record shop where Alan and Maeyc used to meet up every Saturday to discover sonic wonders, which went on to shape their future lives.
Alan’s experience of both playing with and producing cult psych/noise groups like Ectogram, Fflaps, Parking Non-Stop, Faust and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Annie’s youthful initative, classical training, melodic flair and academic research into psychoacoustics has resulted in an unique combination that rejects obvious comparisons, while still being memorably melodic and accessible.
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UK: 'The Students' Companion' LP: £17, 'All Terrain Badgers' LP: £17, 'Cydymaith y Myfyrwyr' CD: £5
Europe: 'The Students' Companion' LP: £19, 'All Terrain Badgers' LP: £19, 'Cydymaith y Myfyrwyr' CD: £7
Rest of World: 'The Students' Companion' LP: £21, 'All Terrain Badgers' LP: £21, 'Cydymaith y Myfyrwyr' CD: £9
All Spectralate releases can also be obtained via Discogs.
Spectralate's 9 Volt Session can be seen here.
The duo's first public airing was the track Water Table, which appears on the compilation CD Past - Present - Future 2, released in June 2014 on the Frankfurt based Pure Pop For Now People label. The track is an (almost) instrumental edit of the longest piece the duo have composed to date. The CD can be obtained most easily, at least outside Germany, via the Discogs site.
Spectralate made their debut live appearance at one of Crackling Vinyl's famous nights in Telford's Warehouse in Chester on November 4th, 2014 alongside R Seiliog. Keep an eye out for further live appearances.