Spherical Objects

Who is this Manchester band? Why is their music so intriguing yet they are known so little?

A Manchester band formed in 1978 to 1981, by Steve Solamar. Focusing on developing sounds out of post-punk whilst forging an experimental sound with garage, Latin guitar and synth with blues. This band had little attraction for the time, in their short array of songs and time together they certainly created an interesting collection of music. They aren’t very well known, the name ‘Spherical Objects’ doesn’t scream anything associated with great musicians of the time. Over the next thirty years of the music being created they stood unknown. They still are very much unknown, until you search deeper into the catalogue of music.

However, their sound has stood the test of time. Their small collection of songs has a modern quality that you can now hold against indie bands like Car Seat Headrest or Black Midi. Until now there may not have been a lot of compare the Objects to, now we can relate a lot of the songs to life, and that of other artists.

It’s bands and artists like Spherical Objects who pass over people to never be known other than some people who formed a band and made some music. And that’s either pretty sad or a cool legacy of music for people to find, who want to find it.

Their best and most iconic being Elliptical Optimism, an organ piano introduces us into the dark experimental scientific sound. With delay and reverb, using horns, synths and organs provide a denser sound. Songs that have a sense of panic and unnecessary rush with fast paced elements that provide a lightness. A teenage angst with a feeling of desperation in the grungy lyricism, a voice of clear complexity and idiosyncrasy. Layers of deep sound that have an obvious punk approach to the structure. Whilst bringing in a sense of early electronic music with a psychedelic sci-fi undertone relating to Silver Apples or a punk Joe Meek.

A fragmented mess of sounds, Solamar leading the band, throughout this time Solamar was leading into transitioning into a woman. Thereby throughout the songs we are hinted toward this transition, which he did so in 1981.

Life feeling like a contradiction to many people was the antithesis for the band and songs. There is an electronic sound, the synthesizer offers an early electronic feel with layers of sound combined together. A darkness there is a grunge that offers a Car Seat Headrest teenage angst. A bitterness with lyricism that evoke a mysteriousness, a dark insight into how someone truly feels.

At the time of recording the first album Solmar was living in a flat with his then girlfriend, Maggie. Spending all his time writing songs in the infamous William Kent Crescent, known for being fairly rough. In these surroundings with no television, apart from having a large stereo system and speakers. Writing songs to be performed in a band rather than solo, inspired by his love situation at the time. With personal contradictions faced, thereby choosing the name ‘Spherical Objects’ for a band based on these contradictions.

With a sense of fragmentation in his personal life, the focus was on music and the band. Having looked through about 20 musicians before finding Fred Burrows and friend Duncan Prestbury. Both of whom knew Roger Hilton, and Burrow’s sister knew John Bisset Smith.

Having completed the first album at a fairly early stage, their album, Past and Parcels, 1978 was the result. With two further tracks, The kill and The Knot for later release on 7 inch. The quality of the pressing, although recorded in a professional studio was unsatisfactory. However, as the initial 1000 copies sold out, the album was rearrested and re-cut, a reissue in April 1979. Released on ‘Object music’, an independent label set-up by Solamar himself. Meaning, not only was Solamar in a band, he was also the owner of an independent label, whilst driving everyone to their gigs. Since he was the only member of the band who could in fact drive. Having to drive around to a press pant and drive to a series of record shops to sell the records. Whilst doing this, many times over he continued his job as a computer analyst and programmer.

With the focus now on Elliptical Optimism, between 1978 and 79 Solamar was frantic. Continuing to do everything from studio arranging, pressings and distribution, he also wrote ten songs. Continuing to forward emotional undertone many of the tracks featured horns and synthesizers. With a sense of spoken word in his lyricism merging a distortion provided by the guitar. As the second verse begins an array of harps and electronics appear, creating a comical, scientific sound.

Come back for part 2.

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