Sonic Boom Makes Himself Heard
Sonic Boom, better known to his relatives as Peter Kember, has always followed an unconventional musical path, whether under the Spectrum banner, his expeditions with Experimental Audio Research (a fluctuating soundscape project that has included Kevin Shields, Delia Derbyshire and AMM’s Eddie Prévost, among others), his recordings as Sonic Boom, collaborations with acts including Stereolab, Yo La Tengo and Dean & Britta, or his work as a producer (MGMT, TEEN, Beach House). But on the recording side, the Spacemen 3 co-founder has been uncharacteristically quiet over the past ten years, aside from a Sonic Boom collaborative EP with Canadian shoegaze duo No Joy a couple years’ back, and a 16-minute track by E.A.R. in 2014, “All Things Being Equal.”
That changes June 5 when Carpark Records issues an album titled All Things Being Equal, not by E.A.R. but instead Kember’s first full album as Sonic Boom since his debut in 1990 (which was itself titled Spectrum, adding to the mixed-up confusion).
The new album first began taking shape in 2015 as instrumental electronic jams and sketches that Stereolab’s Tim Gane encouraged Kember to release as-is. “I nearly did,” says Kember, “but the vibe in them was so strong that I couldn’t resist trying to ice the cake.” Three years later, after moving to Portugal, he added vocals inspired, he says, by Sam Cooke, the Sandpipers and the Everly Brothers, as well as spoken word segments and guest singers Panda Bear and Britta Phillips, with whom he’s worked in the past.
“I learn from everyone I work with, and I wanted to bring what I learnt into this record,” Kember explains. “Everybody thinks about and listens to music in different ways.” Thus far, a pair of trippy advance tastes from All Things Being Equal have been released: “Just Imagine” and “The Way That You Live.”
Photo by Ian Witchell.