Spectralate - The Students' Companion

LP sleeve

Limited edition vinyl LP (with CD)

released 21st July 2015

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.

Spectralate developed an unusually democratic and productive modus operandi. The two of them would meet weekly, sitting opposite each other with a bottle of wine and two guitars - a classical acoustic in Annie's case and a Fender Jaguar for Alan. One or the other would choose a chord to start from, passing it over to the other for the next, and so on. Once the harmonic structure is fixed and duly recorded, they set about constructing a vocal melody in much the same way - passing individual phrases back and forth... likewise then the lyrics - word, phrase, line or verse at a time. When the basic songs are recorded, further instrumentation is added - usually (though not exclusively) Alan doing string arrangements and bass parts and Annie taking care of the drums, brass arrangements and piano.

Throughout this process, the pair have never discussed or referred to any external music, and to this date, each knows very little of what the other listens to. Despite this unusual methodology and personal combination (Alan being twice Annie's age), 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 played their debut concert 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 in July 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.

Spectralate plan on releasing further LPs of their own songs in December 2015 and April 2016, along with an additional four track EP of Welsh language interpretations, as well as compilations of their various collaborations and cover versions.

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 initiative, classical training and academic research into psychoacoustics has resulted in an unique combination that rejects obvious comparisons, while still being memorably melodic and accessible.


The Students' Companion is released as a limited edition vinyl LP on July 21st 2015 and is available from our shop.

The LP also comes with a CD version of the album so you can groove while on the move.

Side A:   Time and Tide / Clever as Paint / Mendicant / Cimmerian Darkness / Fortune Favours the Brave / Crocodile Tears

Side B:   Witless as a Jackdaw / Orthoepist / Snowline / The Funambulist / Arms of Morpheus / Tide and Time