LISTENING POST

Previously a solo project of Hookworms’ Matthew Benn, XAM Duo is now bolstered by Christopher Duffin of Deadwall.

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You may remember XAM, the solo project of Hookworms bassist Matthew Benn. In between his work with the Leeds band he recorded an EP, ‘Tone Systems’, back in 2014. Well, XAM are now XAM Duo as he’s joined forces with Christopher Duffin from Deadwall. After playing a bunch of solo shows Benn wanted to develop the experience, and the sound.

The pair didn’t mess about, either. Half of their very first session together at Leeds’ Suburban Home Studio makes it onto their debut album, which is coming out on Sonic Cathedral on 4 November.

Visual artist Anna Peaker has created this dreamy, immersive video for a new track from it, ‘I Extend My Arms’. It’s six minutes of psychedelic electronica, awash with propulsive mechanical drumbeats and Krautrock synths.

Helpfully, they go into some detail about the track, and the video, below.

Christopher Duffin: “We got the song together for a show we did at Wharf Chambers. It was our third show and the first one that totally clicked, the others had been cool and exploratory, but this one made sense, and the song instantly felt right in the rehearsal before and at the show. We played it again at the Virginia Wing EP launch – I think we recorded it after that show. The edit is the bit that kicks in after I’ve done all my noodling on the saxophone and organ for 20 minutes, so on the full-length version it feels like it has a sense of arrival and real purpose – but I love how positive and joyous it sounds as a piece by itself.”

Matthew Benn: “It’s named ‘I Extend My Arms’ after a piece of art I saw in the Tate in Liverpool the weekend after we had recorded the song. We asked Anna Peaker to do the video after admiring some live visuals she had created for Leeds artists Mia La Metta and Joanne. She had previously done some record sleeve artwork for Hookworms as well. For this video she decided to mix her usual minimal, hypnotic graphics with video synthesis, using footage shot at one of our shows and at her home as the basis. I like the idea that her video synthesis was improvised in much the same way as our audio synthesis.”

Live, they like to improvise, so no two of these forthcoming shows will be the same.

Leeds, Brudenell Social Club (with Michael Rother) – 27 September
Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall (with Anna Meredith) – 1 November
Leeds, Wharf Chambers (with The Early Years) – 24
Manchester, Aatma (with The Early Years) – 25
Newcastle, Cumberland Arms (with The Early Years) – 26

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