Friday, 27 March 2020

Salford Electronics Bandcamp Raid!

Salford Electronics Bandcamp Raid.

Since the end of the Grey Wolves, Dave Padbury has concentrated on his solo project Salford Electronics. I often imagine Padbury living in a large tower block in Salford making these tracks late at night or in the twilight hours, are these tracks diaries of a daily existence?

I bought and reviewed the CD of Communique No.2 that was released on Tesco last year, I would describe it in these times as a soundtrack to somewhere that simultaneously exists in the future and now, a dystopian now, I’d also call it the soundtrack to insomnia during the lonely early morning hours. I reviewed Communique No.2 and liked it a lot, so I have decided to carry out a Bandcamp raid on this project and review select titles. I have been meaning to for some time, but in late March 2020, this is now the perfect time.

In total there have been five Communiques released between 2016 and 2020, as well as frequent individual tracks that appear online and there have been two physical releases on Tesco Organisation and Hospital Productions as well as a few compilation appearances.

Salford Electronics - Communique 1 – 2016 – Digital Release – SECOMM1

Communique 1 was the first Salford Electronics release in 2016, it consists of various tracks that were recorded in 2015. I’d been revisiting Communique 2 over the last week in preparation for the overview and it is downbeat in comparison to Communique 1, this has prominent beats and optimistic overtones, the subtle use of noise and vocal speech samples that are used add a voice to the work. Wavering distortion and warbling noise play over the harmonies and beats that populate tracks.

This carries on from where GW left off, beats populated Exit Strategy, here they thrive and flourish. When I got Exit Strategy and Communique 2, I had been reviewing a lot of beat driven noise work and understood it immediately, this is the maturation of Exit Strategy. I found Exit Strategy had a marmite effect when I posted a pic of it on Social Media, some loved it, some whined it – with the emergence of projects Cut Hands, Soft Kill and the beats that grew in artists like Prurient, I didn’t understand why, there are many different shifts happening at one time in the noise underground, often too many to comprehend at once. Communique 1 doesn’t have the absolute focus and clarity of atmosphere that Communique 2 has, but it is the livelier, more aggressive, dirty entry of the project that gets to grips firmly with its themes. A strong beginning to the project, but  I am left with another question, is this a secret dance past being reminisced about, whilst simultaneously being forged into a new future.

Salford Electronics – Communique 3 – 2018 – Digital Release – SECOMM3

Communique 3 consists of selected works recorded between 2017 – 18. My first impression of Communique 3 is Northern liveliness that seems to push back in time whilst simultaneously being rooted in the present. It seems to be reference to the riots across the country a few years ago but it could easily be the Poll Tax riots of decades gone. I also get the impression of exploring a different (or similar) side of the self, maybe the actual realisation and reality of breaking societies rules. This is again livelier than Comm 2, beat and noise combinations are developed and actualised even further.  

Some tracks pull back to very slow pace into deep atmospherics as they pulsate the listener gets pulled deeper into the album. Minimalism kicks in, so beats and samples echo off each other to form spacious, exhausted atmospheres whilst voice samples and film samples converse to form a nocturnal dialogue of discontent that spreads across the album. In its later stages the sound becomes haunted as it strips back further. I am left with questions - is Communique 3 the disco of discontent or a soundtrack to subversion?

Salford Electronics – Communique 5 – 2020 – Digital Release – SECOMM5.

Communique 5 is the most recent album, made of selected works from 2019 – 20. This is the most fully realised Salford Electronics album, the sound is immediately bigger, the bass is deeper, and the atmospherics are more cutting. Padbury does slice into the sound with sharp noises and hisses, I don’t know if there was an equipment upgrade in-between Communiques, but this one seems to have a better, bigger sound with a sharp mix thrown in.  There is frequent and playful use of bouncy beats, interrupted by samples throughout the album.

Relentless is the projects best combination of noise and beats to excellent effect. The rhythm is sharp and cuts through the sound like noise, the hiss just seems to form a base. When the atmosphere is as minimal as it can be, the sound and depth still seems huge. Communique 5 demonstrates sharper clarity, depth which intensifies the work of Salford Electronics to new levels.

Various Recent Individual tracks on the Salford Electronics Bandcamp.

Collapse – February 23, 2020 – Download.

Collapse seems to revel in Dark Ambient atmospherics, it still feels like a Cityscape at once futuristic and atmospheric.  Padbury’s previous project Grey Wolves did intense atmospheric slow tracks away from their livelier violent assaults at times, Salford Electronics continues that. The harmonies emphasize sorrow, as the atmospherics create a Barren landscape of sound, no beats, just punctuated emptiness.

Destitute – March 10, 2020 – Download.

This again has no beats or liveliness, just atmospherics created through contrasting drones and phone like interruptions of sound. This is also different, it that it seems to form an event rather than an imagined landscape, is this something I missed on the Communiques as it is the first time that I have noticed this.

Still – March 23, 2020 – Download.

Are these Self Isolating times a time of productivity for Salford Electronics? Repetitive beats are cut into with double tracked beats and interruptions of noise. The work seems to resonate on the beat for a long time, allowing only a minimal palette of sound to work around it – the focus on the beats repetition without tainting it too much or too often is a frequent theme in Salford Electronics.

I feel I have gained a wider understanding of Salford Electronics and really dived into it. I missed right out on The Grey Wolves, but I am right here for this. I have indulged into a good selection of the projects body of work and remain very impressed. All works by Salford Electronics are available here -

Nevis Kretini 2020. 


Salford Electronics Bandcamp -

Salford Electronics twitter -

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