- 2 x LP
- Warp Records
More than just an anthology for completists, Broadcast's bumper set of four Peel sessions is a crystalline celebration of the band's beloved discography, with a few crucial wildcards thrown in for good measure.
Anyone who managed to see Broadcast perform live will already know how just important the stage was to the sorely-missed band. From the very beginning, they managed to augment electronic music with a spiky live energy that eluded so many, and their exacting perfectionism - that resulted in delays and production woes in the early days - was honed on the touring circuit. Recorded between 1996 and 2003, "BBC Maida Vale Sessions" assembles a portrait of Broadcast's performances before they slimmed down to a duo for 2005's "Tender Buttons". Their first session came not long after the release of their first single - on the Wurlitzer Jukebox imprint, alongside fellow Brum space cadets Pram and Plone - and it was John Peel who helped oush the band to a wider audience.
Early on, the Broadcast sound was often confused with Stereolab's Gallic krautrock-cum-exotica, but there was always a hint of something more mystical or psychedelic about them. Their initial run of releases shimmered with the technicolor weirdness of 1970s TV soundtracks and the acid-eased surrealism of the US private press circuit. 'Message From Home', from 1996's "The Book Lovers EP", sounds like a cross between LA psych rock band The United States of America and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, a lysergic melting pot of Gen Z bedsit culture, juxtaposed with Trish Keenan's world-weary working class Midlands wisdom and the kind of eerie jangle you'd expect to accompany a Czech new wave movie. On the session version, the band sound as polished and effervescent as they do on the official release, but loosened up for their West London vacation.
'City In Progress' ended up on the band's 2000-released debut album proper "The Noise Made By People", but here four years before it was released, sounds closer to their "Work and Non Work" era. By the time "The Noise Made By People" came out, Broadcast had signed to Warp and cycled through recording methodologies, arriving on a raw, guitar-led focus that they came to rethink later, so hearing this version is a treat. 'Forget Every Time' is even more exciting, as the track never made it to another release; with woozy theremin-style synth and spy movie guitars, it could have easily slotted into any of their initial run of EPs.
Broadcast followed their first session with another in '97, recording fan favorites like 'Lights Out' and 'The Book Lovers'; the next time they appeared was three years later, finally promoting their debut album. When they recorded their last session in August 2003, they'd already released their jazzy second album "Haha Sound" and its stunning companion EP "Pendulum", and this material is fleshed out with a version of Nico's 'Sixty Forty' that Broadcast taped for 2009's "Warp20 (Unheard)". Together, it all makes for a remarkably cohesive listen, condensing the first few years of Broadcast's creative journey into 15 tracks.