The Boats – ‘Live At St. James Priory, Bristol’ Cassette [Other Ideas]

Maybe we’ll get off the tape tip soon, especially with so much quality wax dropping in these last few weeks, but needed to write up this one which is a stunning live release. A 60 minute recording from The Boats first live performance in half-a-decade, and I can’t picture having enjoyed it as much on any other format.

The duo of Andrew Hargreaves and Craig Tattersall have been releasing as The Boats since 2004, though not exclusively by any means. In fact the timing of this cassette dropping turned out to be personally relevant, coming off the back of a week or so exploring Hargreave’s Beppu alias, a project of three CDRs released in 2009 that were incredibly limited and slept on at the same time.

Given that The Boats catalogue is mostly made up of mini-CD releases on their own Our Small Ideas label, and that their tracks are in diverse styles classified within modern-classical or ambeint-experimental, this live recording caught us totally off guard. We may’ve been expecting anything from sampled field recordings to electro-acoustic and body synth movements, but what we got hear instead is live exploration on the heavier side of techno, flipping between driving beats and darker ambient vibes.

Brutal and raw sounds repeat and batter each other constantly, either through drone synths and noise building up to the warehouse drops or through peaking drum machines. Can’t emphasise enough how good their sound is on this.

We’re massive fans of live recordings, especially when live is proper live, making tracks on the fly with as much analogue gear as possible. Live At St. James Priory, Bristol nails the vibe we want to see live, or experience as much as possible through home-listening or the headphones.

Limited to 80 copies, get a hold of one as fast as you can. Check the Boomkat write-up below, and underneath that you can hear a whole side via youtube – almost like a calling card / invite to go see them live as well as pick up the cassette.

via Boomkat

*Edition of 80 copies* Leave your preconceptions at the door for this awesome document of The Boats’ first live show in over five years. Whilst best known for their tear-jerking pastoral ambience, this recording – made at St James Priory, Bristol on saturday April 13th, 2013 – manifests Andrew Hargreaves and Craig Tattersall’s taste for the rawest techno, vaulting between Autechrian acrobatics and ductile techno with a mean streak of overdriven noise and distorted scrabble. It’s like someone spiked their nettle tea and they ran with it, taps aff and fists pumping against a backdrop of blazing strobes and gushing smoke machine. Well, OK, maybe that’s a fantasy we shouldn’t let on to, but the transformation is astounding for anyone familiar with their usual MO, careening away from meadowed melody and dusty attic atmospheres to a brutal and uncompromising basement sound somewhere between Leyland Kirby and Caustic Window. Of course, there’s still traces of their former selves (their same selves) in the secluded breakdown and the oversaturated tape FX (Craig’s really gunning with their patented Boats noise trigger) but the end results share more in common with the recent live show by Happa and Al Gill or even Alberich records than any of the home listening lot. We reckon a many of you will be shocked in the best possible way, don’t sleep on this!