Peter Brewis 'Blow Dry Colossus' LP (*SIGNED*)
Daylight Saving Records release Blowdry Colossus, the new solo album by Field Music’s Peter Brewis. The record is Peter’s first solo venture since 2008’s The Week That Was and follows collaborative albums with Paul Smith (on 2014’s Frozen By Sight) and Sarah Hayes (on 2019’s You Tell Me). The album was recorded over the last year at the Field Music studio in Sunderland, and features contributions from Peter’s brother David, Sarah Hayes and Peter’s son Alexander.
Peter’s work with Field Music, and across all the parallel projects he’s undertaken, has always been characterised by curiosity; an urge to find new musical and lyrical avenues to explore, to mine under-appreciated influences, to combine disparate musical strands. Blowdry Colossus makes this tendency more explicit than ever.
“I wanted to make something where the music was the focus.” says Peter, “With songs, the lyrics tend to carry the meaning: ‘This song is about...'. I wanted the music to be the meaning - the melodies, harmonies, sounds, structures.”
The mostly-instrumental album takes cues from the knowing exotica of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the quizzical tunefulness of Thelonious Monk and the pastoral abstractions of Penguin Cafe Orchestra. It also has more than a touch of the hyperactive fizz of 8-bit game soundtracks. And like Kraftwerk’s records of the mid and late-70s, this is synthesizer music as art music rather than dance music. But where Kraftwerk took the melodic purity of Schubert and gave it a chilly formality, on Blowdry Colossus, Peter takes the same elevation of melody and plunges it into a kind of playful chaos, heavy with rhythmic ingenuity.
The record is also heavy with sonic mutation. A piano is fed through a ring-modulator until it resembles a flute. A flute combines with an old casio and becomes a ghostly, tuneful breath. Synth drum loops morph into arpeggios of bubbles, or are remade as overdriven hiccups. And, of course, there’s the eponymous hero of the title track: a hairdryer fugue gradually giving way to a squelching, off-balance take on Zeppelin-esque riff rock.
The only lyrics on the album appear on Dog Bark Dark, a surreal wild-dog chase. “I thought I’d have one actual song on here, for something different!” says Peter, “I was thinking of YMO, Quincy Jones, early 90s dance and Captain Beefheart. And the guitar solo was meant to be the discarded bits from Steve Miller’s Abracadabra.”
Throughout the album, it feels like we’ve been diligently following the steps of the KLF’s seminal Manual, but once we were sitting in the studio, drinking tea and tinkering with the sequencer, we decided to give up on having a number one hit and keep playing purely for the joy. Hence, the foray into New Jack Swing on Generation Dial Up or the Eno-esque interlude of Warm Wind.
Label: Daylight Saving Records