‘You said you wrote a page about me / In your diary’

typed for your pleasure on 14 January 2011, at 8.06 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Valerie’ by Broadcast

It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9am this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care.

Our thoughts go out to James, Martin, her friends and her family and we request that the public respect their wishes for privacy at this time.

This is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly – a unique voice, an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. Rest in Peace.
Warp records, 14 January 2011

1997 was when I first learned of Broadcast; their debut Cd ‘Work and non work’ had come out on the Drag city label. I’d read about them somewhere — can’t recall where, but it was a case of ‘if you like Stereolab, you might also like Broadcast’, recommendation and similarity being the way I find a good number of groups. ‘Work and non work’ was really a compilation of their first three 7″ releases; the three-year wait until ‘The noise made by people’, their first proper release, would be excruciating, as I found myself listening to ‘Work and non work’ far more than I thought I ever would, and was eager to hear new material.

The comparison to Stereolab is actually a bit tenuous — sure, both groups traffic in retro-Sixties-sounding music, but whereas Stereolab’s basis draws from motorik, tropicalia, and easy listening, Broadcast took their influences from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, avant-garde pop groups, and Eastern European film soundtracks. Admittedly, one of Trish’s favourite films was the dreamlike Czechoslovakian entry ‘Valerie and her week of wonders‘, and having seen it for the first time a couple of years ago, it totally made sense why she loved it, and why both Jaromil Jireš’ direction and Luboš Fišer’s soundtrack were such a heavy influence on their sound. Stereolab overall are brighter and poppier, but Broadcast projected a mood akin to a year-long autumn. Their music and images complemented each other, but the thing that tied it all together was Trish’s voice — vulnerable, but simultaneously strong.

Broadcast were one of those rare groups where each successive release was better than the previous one, going from ‘The noise made by people’, to ‘Ha ha sound’, to ‘Tender buttons’, to their collaboration with The Focus Group’s ‘Investigate Witch cults of the Radio Age’, from 2009. They can quite literally be said to be the originators of a new genre of music: hauntology. Groups like Moon wiring club, Research Laboratory of Electronic Progress, Mordant music, and every artist on the Ghost box label create nebulous sounds, couched in the past, like soundtracks from déjà vu experiences from places you’ve never personally visited and occurrences you’d never personally witnessed. We’ve all been there. But do you recall that voice you’d heard in the background of nearly all your dreams? That whisper like a familiar but slightly chilling breeze? Naturally, that was Trish.

I’d say she’d be missed, but she’ll always be with us. Especially in our dreams

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