XAM Duo

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XAM Duo play their first show of 2017 next weekend in Folkestone.

The duo of Hookworms’ Matthew Benn and Deadwall’s Christopher Duffin, whose self-titled debut album was released in November last year to great acclaim, will play the Quarterhouse venue in the Kent seaside town on Saturday (February 4) as part of this year’s Profound Sound festival, which has been put together by Folkestone Fringe and our friends at Hot Salvation. XAM Duo play alongside Cowtown and Virginia Wing. Also appearing at the festival, which takes place from Friday to Sunday, are Cosmic Thoughts and Leafcutter John.

There are also a number of other events and activities across the weekend, including XAM Duo’s Modular Synth Workshop, which takes place in the Quarterhouse bar from 11am on Sunday, February 5. You can join Matthew and Christopher and learn how to build up a patch from scratch.

The full line-up of performances and events, plus timings and venue information can be found in a downloadable programme here.

Tickets are just £27 for a weekend pass, £10 per day or £5 per event and can be bought here. Under 23s are free.

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It’s time for the Independent Label Market once again. This Saturday (November 26) will see all of your favourite labels – and some of your favourite hipster breweries, too – congregating in Old Spitalfields Market in London to sell their wares. As ever, we have got some good stuff for you, including this exclusive tape of XAM Duo’s improvised show at the Total Refreshment Centre in London a few weeks ago.

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We will also have copies (or sometimes just one copy) of every release on Sonic Cathedral this year, some of which are selling for £100 on Discogs. In case you’ve not been keeping up, this means we will have the following:

SCR071 – Odd Nosdam – ‘T r i s h’ splatter vinyl 12″
SCR072 – Odd Nosdam – ‘More Lost & Haunted Remains’ tape
SCR088 – Various – ‘Kraftwerk? Ja Bitte!’ glow in the dark vinyl 12″
SCR090LP – Spectres – ‘Dying’ red vinyl LP
SCR091 – Spectres – ‘Dead’ CD
SCR091LP – Spectres – ‘Dead’ double LP
SCR100LP – The Early Years – ‘The Early Years’
SCR101 – The Early Years – ‘Demo’ CD
SCR105 – Yeti Lane – ‘L’Aurore’ CD
SCR105LP – Yeti Lane – ‘L’Aurore’ clear vinyl LP
SCR110 – The Early Years – ‘II’ CD
SCR110LP – The Early Years – ‘II’ black / white vinyl double LP
SCR111 – The Early Years – ‘Nocturne’ lathe cut 7″
SCR115 – Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – ‘Balance’ CD
SCR115LP – Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – ‘Balance’ clear / blue vinyl LP
SCR120 – XAM Duo – ‘XAM Duo’ CD
SCR120LP – XAM Duo – ‘XAM Duo’ double LP
SCR121 – XAM Duo – ‘Total Refreshment Centre, London, November 5, 2016’ tape

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And if that’s still not enough, we will also have copies of Ulrich Schnauss’ wonderful new album ‘No Further Ahead Than Today’ on vinyl and we will be joined by Adrian Dutt from Spectres who might just be, er, dropping something new and exclusive by his band, while also selling some rarities from his Howling Owl label, including more Spectres rarities, vinyl albums for a fiver, signed Oliver Wilde records, test pressings and lots more.

Please come and join us for a mince pie and a sherry. We are open from 11am until 6.30pm and are in good company, as you can see from the stall plan below.

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XAM Duo – the new outfit formed by Matthew Benn of Hookworms and Christopher Duffin of Deadwall – will launch their debut album with a special show at the Total Refreshment Centre in London on Saturday, November 5. They will be joined for a night of indoor aural fireworks by a very special secret guest and also London-based experimentalist Moon Gangs. Doors open at 7pm, the live music finishes at 11pm and there will be DJs until 1am.

>>>>> BUY TICKETS FOR THE XAM DUO ALBUM LAUNCH SHOW <<<<<

XAM Duo will also play a number of dates supporting The Early Years towards the end of November, plus hometown shows supporting Anna Meredith and Sealings. Here’s a full list:

October 14 – Leeds – Wharf Chambers (with Sealings)
November 1 – Leeds – Belgrave Music Hall (with Anna Meredith)
November 5 – London – Total Refreshment Centre (album launch)
November 24 – Leeds – Wharf Chambers (with The Early Years)
November 25 – Manchester – Aatma (with The Early Years)
November 26 – Newcastle – Cumberland Arms (with The Early Years)

‘XAM Duo’ is out on November 4. Its six tracks of improvised ambient beauty are both meditative and peaceful. It is astral jazz with an experimental kosmische undercurrent; modular synths meet saxophones; Cluster meets Terry Riley; Laurie Spiegel meets Pharoah Sanders; Ohr meets Impulse!. A warm, immersive and downright musical record, it rewards repeat listens. Watch the video for the edited version of ‘I Extend My Arms’:

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on limited-edition gatefold double vinyl – smarturl.it/xamduovinyl

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on CD – smarturl.it/xamduocd

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on iTunes – smarturl.it/xamduoitunes

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on Bandcamp – smarturl.it/xamduobandcamp

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Sonic Cathedral will release the self-titled debut album by XAM Duo – the new outfit formed by Matthew Benn of Hookworms and Christopher Duffin of Deadwall – on November 4. Its six tracks of improvised ambient beauty are both meditative and peaceful. It is astral jazz with an experimental kosmische undercurrent; modular synths meet saxophones; Cluster meets Terry Riley; Laurie Spiegel meets Pharoah Sanders; Ohr meets Impulse!. A warm, immersive and downright musical record, it rewards repeat listens.

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on limited-edition gatefold double vinyl – smarturl.it/xamduovinyl

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on CD – smarturl.it/xamduocd

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on iTunes – smarturl.it/xamduoitunes

Pre-order ‘XAM Duo’ on Bandcamp – smarturl.it/xamduobandcamp

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Photograph by Jed Skinner

XAM was originally Matthew’s solo project, the name borrowed from the closing song of latter-day Dusseldorf-via-Detroit cult classic ‘Subway II’. He recorded a number of tracks at home between Hookworms albums in 2014 which were released last year as the ‘Tone Systems’ EP on Deep Distance. Following the EP’s release, there were offers to play live, solo, for the first time.

“It was all very daunting,” Matthew explains. “I found travelling to and playing shows by myself quite a lonely experience after having been in bands for the last 10 years, so I began thinking about collaboration.” Inspired to mix his electronics with saxophone, Rhodes piano and other acoustic instrumentation after playing live shows alongside the likes of Sun Araw and Bitchin Bajas, he began his search for collaborators.

Fortuitously, Christopher had just recorded with Matthew’s Hookworms bandmate MJ, who put the two in touch. The magic was there right from the off. “I’d been looking for an outlet for a while to play more saxophone and focus on electronics,” says Christopher. “So MJ gave Matthew my details and the first time we ever played together was in Suburban Home Studio, and that totally improvised session makes up about half of the record.”

“It felt like we really clicked musically,” adds Matthew. “I think it’s amazing that people will be able to hear literally the first time we ever played music together on this album, the first exploratory moments of us tip-toeing round each other and trying to settle on our sound and work each other out. In some ways it might sound like an extension of Hookworms: lots of repetition and easy to zone out to. But in other ways this is my outlet for exploring my love of more self-indulgent, extended electronic music.”

“Deadwall are very much a song and arrangement based band,” says Christopher, who sees XAM Duo as a reaction to his day job. “It was really nice to spend some time slowing things down and concentrating on vibe, feel and the immediacy of improvisation.”

“We like to record as many practices and shows as we can,” reveals Matthew. “You never know when one of those magic moments will happen, and you may never be able to recreate it.”

Christopher says he approaches each song as a “mini-soundtrack to an imaginary film that doesn’t exist yet” and reveals that, while he was practising at home, he played along to clips of ‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘Synecdoche, New York’ to get the requisite atmosphere. Live sets are also completely improvised, meaning no two shows are ever the same.

“I appreciate that improvised music isn’t for everyone, but it’s something I love doing,” Matthew concludes. “And, more often than not, Chris and I create something beautiful together.”

The full tracklisting of ‘XAM Duo’ is:

1. Proem
2. Pine Barrens
3. I Extend My Arms Pt I & II
4. Ashtanga
5. The Test Dream
6. René

XAM Duo play the following live dates:

September 27 – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club (with Michael Rother)
October 14 – Leeds – Wharf Chambers (with Sealings)
November 1 – Leeds – Belgrave Music Hall (with Anna Meredith)
November 24 – Leeds – Wharf Chambers (with The Early Years)
November 25 – Manchester – Aatma (with The Early Years)
November 26 – Newcastle – Cumberland Arms (with The Early Years)

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Following the release of ‘II’, their first album in 10 years, The Early Years will play a short run of UK dates. The notoriously road-shy four-piece (who now play live as a five-piece with synth wizard Mylar Melodies) will play shows in London, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle in November. And before all that, they will also play at Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia on Saturday, September 24.

The Early Years play the following dates:

Saturday, September 24 – Liverpool – International Festival Of Psychedelia – TICKETSFACEBOOK EVENT
Thursday, November 17 – London – MOTH Club – TICKETS – FACEBOOK EVENT
Thursday, November 24 – Leeds – Wharf Chambers – TICKETSFACEBOOK EVENT
Friday, November 25 – Manchester – Aatma – TICKETSFACEBOOK EVENT
Saturday, November 26 – Newcastle – Cumberland Arms – TICKETSFACEBOOK EVENT

The band’s new album ‘II’ is released on September 23. Here’s a taster:

Pre-order ‘II’ on double vinyl – smarturl.it/teyvinyl
Pre-order ‘II’ on CD – smarturl.it/teycd
Pre-order ‘II’ on iTunes – smarturl.it/teyitunes
Pre-order ‘II’ on Bandcamp – smarturl.it/teybandcamp

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