Saturday 15 April 2023

Labradford - Accelerating on a Smoother Road [1993-2001]


Founded in 1991, Labradford consists of bassist Robert Donne, guitarist/vocalist Mark Nelson, and keyboardist Carter Brown. Their music style is experimental ambient and post-rock, although their first releases were much more related to dark drone rock.

An early press release compared them to: Neu, F/i, Spacemen3, Gate, Dead C. & Jim O'Rourke. Their first full-length album, "Prazision LP", was released by Kranky in 1993. By their third full-length album, the eponymous release of 1996, Labradford began to infuse their music with sampled and real time percussion traces, at times faintly delving into actual syncopation. By 1997, the group broadened and varied their sound with their fourth release. On "Mi Media Naranja", the group maintained their distinctive identity, adding a string section, Fender Rhodes electric piano and slide guitar to the trio's sound bank.

1999's release, "E Luxo So" features contributions from a string quartet as well as a guest on dulcimer. Subtle blips of percussion and samples interweave through blurry guitars, bubbly electric piano and plangent organ and some gorgeous piano. In 2001, the band released their sixth album, "Fixed::Context", recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago and engineered by Steve Albini. This album found the trio stripping off the string trios of the last two albums and working with interlocking sound sources and modifiers; Carter Brown's vintage synthesizers, organs and electric piano; the distinctive Duane Eddy plays Satie guitar of Mark Nelson and Bobby Donne's four and six string basses. Though the group has not officially disbanded, they have not released another album since.

Won't say too much here, don't want to bore you with my witterings! I've never been a big fan of drone/ambient music but I've enjoyed listening to Labradford since I bought their first album back in 1993. I subsequently bought all their following albums on release, even managed to see them play live back in 2000, and still listen to them quite frequently even though it's been several years since their last album. Favourite album? That would be their self-titled from 1996, which also includes my favourite song by them, "Pico". "E Luxo So" comes a close 2nd though.
For this collection I've featured my 2 favourite tracks from all 6 studio albums, plus a compilation track and a b-side single.
As usual, origin of each track & year of release is tagged in the music files and in the download file. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Accelerating on a Smoother Road (4:12)
2. V (6:24)
3. Comfort (6:12)
  4. With John Morand and Assisted by Brian Hoffa. (5:34)
  5. Pico (5:46)
6. Up to Pizmo (6:15)
7. Balanced on It's Own Flame (4:01)
8. S (6:14)
9. The Window (4:31)
10. Leta O'Steen. Design Assistance by John Piper. (7:41)
11. C. of People (4:52)
12. Columna de la Independencia (4:28)
13. Scenic Recovery (4:50)
14. David (6:35)

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