Working from home has a few major benefits to compensate for the longer hours I seem to put in and the constant telephone interruptions at all hours, the main one being that I can play whatever music I want without upsetting anyone’s delicate sensibilities. Today was my first day back in front of the laptop after two weeks of annual leave and I knew that music would be required to ease me back into the routine. I spent most of the morning clearing out junk from my inbox and dialling in to meetings before establishing my weekly schedule and decided early on that I needed a little audio abstraction as my soundtrack. My choice of listening was therefore sourced from the back catalogue of Robert Beatty’s Three Legged Race.
I have a total of ten releases by Three Legged Race in my library so I just hit the shuffle button and let iTunes choose a track list for me. It was an inspired choice, Robert Beatty’s output since his first LP, Ringing Order from 2009 has been consistently inventive. He’s a synth mangler at heart but clearly has a love of space pop, outsider electronics and the menacingly twee. Raining Whisper from Raining Order pits chattering, ghostly voices against eerie drifts like a radio trying to lock into some unknown station transmitting from another planet. China Bull from As Ed Sunspot is brittle, synthetic exotica whilst Locked Eyes from Persuasive Barrier wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Ghost Box release.
By the end of the day, I hadn’t really achieved much of note for a variety of reasons but at least the soundtrack had kept my head off the keyboard.
Most of the Three Legged Race back catalogue is available for next to nothing via Bandcamp (here) and comes very highly recommended. It’s great to know that there are still some genuinely talented people around these days who are releasing interesting, challenging music for the love of it rather than knocking out lowest common denominator ‘product’ designed solely for profit-driven mass market consumption.
Robert Beatty is also a very fine painter who creates surreal, psychedelic images which have a slight pythonesque quality about them. The cover for his last LP, Persuasive Barrier (above) is bafflingly beautiful and looks for all the world like some obscure prog concept album from 1969 with it’s cracked cosmic egg leaking a molten pink telephone. He’s also responsible for a number of other fine pieces which have adorned a variety of releases over the past few years, here’s a small selection of my favourites;