Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Life of Barrymore

I am pleased to announce that my new record LIFE OF BARRYMORE is available as a mini-CD and download from Linear Obsessional Recordings. Linear Obsessional supremo Richard Sanderson describes it on the Bandcamp page, and this is as good a description as it's likely to get, as:
Extraordinary EP of new songs by the New Cross based sound/visual artist and composer Steven Ball (a member of the influencial DIY electronics group Storm Bugs with Philip Sanderson). "Life of Barrymore" is a collection of songs with lyrics transcribed from verbatim recordings of specially selected snatches of British television. Haunting, and occasionally uncomfortable, "Life of Barrymore" treats these found texts with utmost seriousness, and are sung by Ball in a moving and mesmeric fashion over specially created beds of electro-acoustic construction. "Life of Barrymore" is a gripping and unique experience.

Listen and download from the player above, or at
where you can also order the physical release which consists of a numbered, limited edition of 50 mini-CDRs. High-quality download in MP3, FLAC, and more, is available on Bandcamp and includes a full-colour PDF booklet with notes, lyrics and artwork.

Recorded 2014 - 15, Steven Ball sings, plays guitar, accordion, software instruments, Candy Crush (stuck on level 29), radiosonic and televisual ambience.

Linear Obsessional Recordings LR065

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Speakers Too

originally performed with images by Martin Blažíček on 20/06/15 at the no.w.here tenth anniversary party, these versions recorded live and direct to drive 23/06/15, no fuss, no edits, no post-production, now on Bandcamp

Monday, 1 June 2015

"...as local as it gets..."

I'm very pleased to note two positive reviews of Collected Local Songs within a few days of each other.  The first by a singer/musician whose work I greatly admire (and one-time local), Sophie Cooper writing for Radio Free Midwitch 
"The songs are like perfect postcards picturing small details of everyday life seen through an appreciative eye."
and the second from local Deptford/New Cross blog Transpontine
"...an album that is as local as it gets..."
Thanks people!

Monday, 9 March 2015

genre vagrancy

from The Wire, April 2015
Steven Ball
Collected Local Songs
Bandcamp DL

Steven Ball is one half of Storm Bugs, a South East London duo who played a key role in the late 1970s/early 1980s cassette movement. Bending circuits, scratching vinyl, mutilating melody: they created a strangely liberated form of proto-industrial arte povera that, rediscovered and reissued over the last decade, has held up remarkably well. Loosely affiliated with that period’s DIY groups, Storm Bugs still feel uncaptured. Ball’s subsequent activities, moving across spoken word, video and installation, testify to his restless energy and genre vagrancy.

Collected Local Songs, while quieter in register, is equally intriguing. It's a drifting, sometimes aleatory assemblage of signs and signals encountered in South London's Deptford and New Cross. Ball sees the city as plunderphonic terrain, and this music is built up from layers of centifugal texts: ghost signs, ringtones, viral marketing skywriting, fragments of overheard speech. "Cloud Of Dreams" comes across like an old blues song written by conceptual architects Metahaven: "Woke up one morning/Singing phrases from a dream/Into his mobile phone".

There's drift and ambulation here. Memories, fragmented and not always lucid, act as bulwarks against capitalism's amnesia. The city is battered but not down for the count. It recalls the cussed melancholy of Jem Cohen’s films, or Stephen Dwoskin's Jesus Blood, the South London film best known for its Gavin Bryars score. Sometimes Ball’s vocals are a touch too measured, making "Deptford Flea Market lnterlude" - comprised of found sounds such as junglist beats and street stall patter - all the more potent. Collected Local Songs may be a discographic side swerve for him, but it's a resonant and very effective one.

Sukhdev Sandhu