Wednesday, 29 April 2020

all about Crumpsall Riddle - Looking After The Duck

Looking After The Duck, the album recorded by Jude Cowan Montague and me under the name Crumpsall Riddle, is attracting quite a bit of attention and some critical praise. I'll dedicate this post to reviews of and other news about the album and update it as and when there is something new.

Here's an interview we recorded with Andy N for Spoken Label:


Joined by Matt Armstrong on bass guitar, also acting as engineer for the recordings, the duo turn in an array of quite minimal / sparse instrumentation including guitars, drum machine, and moog, but it’s the voices that are showcased. Singing voices, spoken word, and an odd form of song-speech…the distinctive taste of this Crumpsall Riddle is the combination of these vocal larynxes... 


…Crumpsall Riddle are a duo formed by Ball and Jude Cowan Montague, who improvised the songs on Looking After The Duck in three live sessions during August and September of 2019. The results are beautifully strange; there's an end of the night feel here, as shattered and deathly as Richard & Linda Thompson at their bleakest or Alex Chilton at his most blearily broken, but the recording is crystal clear, almost unforgivingly so. The melodies and words here could almost be folk, but this is folk taken to non-convivial extremes, the lo-fi instrumentation and droning keyboards like Suicide with all the aggravation sucked out, replaced by a despairing English resignation, gently dazed humour and an abstract sense of demise and decay. The highlights are where Montague dominates the vocals - this seems to give Ball space to explore more musical textures, and Montague has a voice that's disarmingly direct, real and intensely moving. Looking After The Duck is perhaps the most engaging of these releases, but all four contain delights.  
- Neil Kulkarni, The Wire, September 2020 

 ...a masterful craft, spilling an abundance of emotion without superimposition or myriad sound designs; rather seizing the breath of the listener through an adventure of minimal instrumentation: structuring scenic palpation’s.  

 If people just had ten percent of expressive freedom as Crumpsall Riddle have accumulated over here, the world would be already a much more fascinating and wonderful place!
- Yeah I Know It Sucks speed reading somebody else’s book collection whilst listening to the Bagpuss soundtrack as whistling Jack Smith rifles through your girlfriend’s knickers drawer just out of view...  
- Monolith Cocktail  


What a triumph of beauty! One of my albums of the year and comes with the highest possible recommendation from TQ zine.
- TQ Zine issue 30

Monday, 6 April 2020

Storm Bugs - Table Matters (1980)

Table Matters is a super 8 film made in 1980 to accompany the Storm Bugs EP record of the same name. For many years it was presumed lost, but resurfaced recently and has since been digitally restored with a 4K scan by nanolab (, and reunited with its original soundtrack. The film, shot on location in Chatham, Kent, in early 1980, echoes the themes of grimy mundane consumerism explored on the EP through songs such as Eat Good Beans, Window Shopping, and Make Customers Matter.