spike -orange cloud nine: Review
Dutch home-recording maestro Spike Wolters is a true diamond in the rough. Unearthed by the perrenial musical forager Phil South (from four self released early 80s Lp’s) for this expansive compilation of Spike’s archive material, you have to wonder, had it not been for the keen ear of Mr South, wether the material on show would have been lost for good. Had that scenario played out, we, the listening public, would have been at a great loss. Spike’s music is an aquired taste, but full of that x-factor that so many strive for and are eluded by – personality and authenticity. A lot of that is down to the lo-fi quality of the recordings – all tape hiss and low rent drum machines – but to pin all of the music’s charm on that alone would be doing Spike’s songwriting a disservice…. the man knows how to craft a tune.
There’s a lot to take in over the course of the LP, with a whopping 16 tracks in all – some of them feel very much like unfinished demos while others sound much more full, whole and well executed. The tracks veer from new-wave-ish workouts such as the odd, addictive New Germany to Police-like pop jams as in Your Time Has Come, through to Steeley Dan and Pink Floyd informed pieces like Writing on the Wall and Kanti Dadum. Throughout, Spike’s voice and guitar are the ingredients that yolk the whole thing together – working in conjunction with odd synth tones and fx to forge a unique sonic world. The standouts, for me, are the aformentioned New Germany (which was recently released as a 12″ on Golf Channel replete with a Dj Nature remix) – which sounds like the kind of track The Electrifying Mojo might have picked up on, and ‘Sometimes’ which contains a great new-wave synth break that jumps out of the speakers.
All in all, the 16 tracks form a fascinating glimpse into the outsider mind of a musician on a mission in the early 80s, beholden of a refreshingly stripped down sound in an era best known for big, glossy production – Spike’s music deserves to be heard.
Orange Cloud Nine is out soon on CD. Preview all 16 tracks and pre order here.