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wmmberger on 05/30/2012 at 05:16AM

An Ancient Love Affair (with hulking synths); The Spiritual Switchboard LIVE on My Castle of Quiet, WFMU 5.11.2012

Wm. Berger / Tracy Widdess

Positive feedback continues to filter in for this live set, presented on the air a few weeks ago. The Spiritual Switchboard, a collaboration between two of Brooklyn's synth heavyweights, is without question a summit to be reckoned with. Jesse DeRosa (of Baked Tapes, Grasshopper, The Hex Breaker Quintet / Quartet, Shingles, etc.) and Joshua Slusher (OPPONENTS, Creeplings, The Grand Selector, et al.) are busy young men, overflowing with talent and a vibrant urgency to express themselves, and put it all out there, as much and as often as possible. Perhaps surprisingly for that M.O., their works are of the highest quality.

It's no secret that I admire them both professionally and personally, so I was only too pleased to provide the My Castle of Quiet program as a forum for them, a vehicle, with which to continue sharing their prowess, on a journey that began for me personally, back when Grasshopper were the second live band ever to be presented on the program, in August of 2009. The Spiritual Switchboard were joined for this absolutely live session by Joshua Greco (also of OPPONENTS), another super-nice guy with a big talent for swinging it analog.

While harkening back to the 70s "Berlin-school" electronic era, Spiritual Switchboard are also Brooklyn to the core, and there's something about the borough that inspires rough experimentation—a coarse, ominous, urban shroud that flashes the streetlights and rumbles the trains above and below, transcending notions of mere imitation to something wonderfully new, and wonderfully ageless at the same time. It's Klaus-Schulzean, and rolling a handmade in the rain somewhere near Meeker-Morgan.

At this point I'm probably over-waxing, and the music really does speak for itself—a grand synth spectacle if ever there was one. The almost 50 minutes of mighty drone, the spinal currents of bubbling color, and the ever-dancing and encircling transmigrations of melody, leave no doubt as to why listeners are still writing to me about this session.

Tremendous thanks must go to Juan Aboites, who rendered the live sound with panache and sensitivity to the musicians' needs, and to Tracy Widdess, who yet again reconfigured my photo of the band in action into a thing of beauty, suitable for framing. Thanks most of all to Joshua, Jesse and Joshua, for providing The Castle with yet another great session to remember and enjoy.

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