The Same - Sync or Swim
More deepdigging from Pete Swanson's Freedom to Spend imprint, returning to the Unlikely Records archive from where they took their 2019 Rimarimba reissue and turning up The Same's debut from 1981. The Same is, in fact, another pseudonym of Rimarimba's Robert Cox, a DIY outlier from Felixstowe who's amassed a fairly substantial cult following as his records have become conversely better known and harder to find. It's not hard to understand why. Sync or Swim's year of release provides relevant context, arriving in the heat of that first wave of DIY production born out of punk but displaying very little aesthetic connection to it. The rudimentary means of recording don't disguise what is open and progressive music, seemingly taking most inspiration from Berlin School experimentalism and combining it with the fearlessness of the early cassette culture underground. It's a unique combination of minimal electronics, tape edits and various guitar-based transgressions that flip between folk and komische styles, reminding me variously of Manuel Gottsching, Rodelius, Solid Space and Lives of Angels. It reaches a peak on the B side, one 20 minute long piece that somehow manages to emulate the sacred ground of E2-4 (on a DIY budget of course) while pre-dating it by some three years! A remarkable and eternally engaging achievement. Well done Freedom to Spend for making our lives easier.
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