Enigmatic cult band set to re-release two albums as one

Woo, brothers Mark and Clive Ives, released their first album, ‘Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong‘ in 1982, and that came after a decade of noodling about with tape machines and instruments in their home in Wimbledon, south London.

Over the following 40 years, Woo continued to put out albums pursuiing their idiosyncratic and singular musical vision of retro-futuristic electronica.

Reshaped and newly conceived as companion pieces, both ‘Robot X‘ (2016) and ‘Xylophonics‘ (2017), originally available as digital-only on Bandcamp, are set for release on two-CD and two-vinyl as one release plus digital formats on Independent Project Records, reviving a relationship between the brothers and the label that was first forged in the 1989, when IPR released the Woo album ‘It’s Cosy Inside‘. The label is renowned for its beautiful handcrafted sleeves, created with label founder Bruce Licher’s letterpress.

‘Robot X‘ was created from snippets of recordings made on a four-track tape machine in the 80s. “One of our most abstract and surreal albums,“ Clive Ives calls it. When the record was first compiled in 2016, the brothers felt that the reality of humanoid robots being made and being used was imminent. This concept became the main inspiration for the album, fuelled by the influence of Terry Gilliam’s 1985 masterpiece ‘Brazil‘, with its blend of sci-fi and dark comedy.

The story, set in a dystopian world in which there is an over-reliance on poorly maintained (and rather whimsical) machines, proved influential for the ‘Robot X‘ artwork, too: Clive Ives collaged together various old industrial machinery etchings to create robots, coming up with something that is obviously not as practical and functional as modern (real world) robots are designed to be. Even with good designing, the question arises: how will these logical machines co-exist with unpredictable humans?

‘Xylophonics‘ was birthed like many Woo albums, reworking tracks found in the 90s section of the brothers’ spacious archive. Back then, they had just begun recording onto computers. These tracks showcase their first opportunity to properly link drum machines with keyboards, and create loops and multitrack more layers without the need of sound on sound on a tape deck, working on melodic loops made with tuned percussion instruments such as marimba, kalimba and xylophone, and creating a feel that is at once futuristic and optimistic.

‘Robot X / Xylophonics‘ is pressed on clear vinyl and black vinyl editions and CD and is available for pre-order from independentprojectrecords.com

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