I’m struggling to process the news of Trish Keenan’s death. It’s a strange business, the modern connection to people you’ve never met in person, but it’s certainly a real one, and in some cases these connections can be as resonant as those made under more (historically) conventional circumstances. I don’t know what I’ll do when Brian Wilson dies.
Broadcast’s Tender Buttons, for what it’s worth, is for me by far the greatest album of the last ten years. At least, it has provided me with an emotional experience that greatly exceeds anything I’ve got from other music of that period. Certainly a lot of that has to do with personal circumstance, but then again it would be hard to separate out any aesthetic judgement from personal circumstance. It’s also strangely guilt-making to feel the news of a person’s death more keenly simply because that person happened to be an artist you cherished, but there you go.
Broadcast had recently moved into a musical space of dreams and spectres that was as fertile as anything else musically current. Witch Cults, owing no doubt to the contributions of Julian House, was more dispersive, more sharded, than the group’s previous work, but here and there it surpassed even Buttons. The recent split 7″ with House, Familiar Shapes and Noises was rich and charming. Even better was the limited edition EP, Mother is the Milky Way, a truly visionary music of ghosts and tenderness.
Besides the sonic and textural innovation of Broadcast’s music, I think its critical component was its heart-stopping emotional immediacy. This immediacy came principally from Keenan’s mysterious, dreaming voice.