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Public Service Broadcasting

The aptly-monikered PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING electro duo (J. Willgoose, Esq. on instruments and Wrigglesworth on drums/piano) have been delving into the BBC TV and radio archives since they formed in Greater London in 2009. On a par with… say… PAUL HARDCASTLE, BOARDS OF CANADA and KRAFTWERK, in sound and vision, their instrumental/electro-versus-BBC world service samples give the boffin boys their distinctive, streamline character.
Released – after a limited pressing of `EP One’ – on the Test Card imprint (what else?), a subsequent run of singles, `ROYGBIV’, `Spitfire’ (from `The War Room’ EP) and `Everest’, were designed to teach one a little history along the way. For youngsters detached from the posh days of the wireless and 50s monochrome telly, famous British railway films, fighter planes of WWII and Hilary and Tensing’s assault on the highest peak in 1953, just might’ve eluded them.
Taking the title from the opening cut from debut long-player (released on CD and not 78 rpm), INFORM – EDUCATE – ENTERTAIN (2013) {*9} is electronic music’s equivalent to Pathe News or Pearl & Dean. Sounds such as the aforementioned singles, plus `Signal 30’, `Theme From PSB’, et al, transmit sonic and hook-line chemi-beats straight to your hearts and bones.
Commanders Willgoose and Wrigglesworth were back at sub-station headquarters for strike two, THE RACE FOR SPACE (2015) {*8}. A nostalgic sci-fi concept dealing with the Apollo missions rather than looking a bit of leg-room, the record opened with a title-track JFK speech on the pros of man’s need to orbit, then land on the Moon – and beyond. The historical cosmic battle between Russia and the States is emphasised on the back-to-back The ORB-meets-funk `Sputnik’ and Gagarin’, but its in atmospheric soundscapes `E.V.A.’ and `The Other Side’ that crack the surface. Folkies the SMOKE FAIRIES make a welcome guest appearance on the harmony-addled `Valentina’, a track in stark contrast to the beat-bopping, head-swirling single `Go!’.
`Go!’. THE RACE FOR SPACE – REMIXES (2016) {*6} – showcasing re-hashes with ERRORS, MAPS, DUTCH UNCLES and FIELD MUSIC – ended their tenure at Test Card.
Inking a deal with Play It Again Sam Records, PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING raided sound archives and educational footage of the Welsh coal mining industry (namely at the former steelworks of Ebbw Vale), to piece together the electro-synth jigsaw concept set, EVERY VALLEY (2017) {*8}; a surprise but worthy Top 5 entry. If Richard Burton had been alive today one could imagine his narrative on this plunder-phonic production; instead there was space enough down studio pit for another Welsh icon, James Dean Bradfield, who lent his considerable clout to `Turn No More’. Valleys girl and actress/singer/songwriter Lisa Jen Brown was also on hand to spread her vernacular on `You + Me’, whilst joining PSB from another Celtic connection (Glasgow to be exact) was CAMERA OBSCURA’s Tracyanne Campbell on download-single, `Progress’. Almost grunge-like in its wigged-out guitar assault, `All Out’, was in stark contrast to the interview clip-friendly `They Gave Me A Lamp’ and outsider-scribed anchor dirge from EDWARDS HAND: `Take Me Home’.
© MC Strong/MCS May2013-Jul2017

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