Secret Speech, the latest album from Stuffed Spider, is a fascinating record combining a myriad of surprising elements as instrumentation. The album notes are clear that many of the sounds within are captured from found audio:
Tape samples and field recordings from 1997 – 2020, sourced from tapes recorded on street corners, apartments, kitchens, practice spaces, front yards, car windows, public gatherings, and inside coat pockets.
With such a setup you’d expect the album to be lacking in musicality but it unfurls like a dystopian journey; rain on a tin roof muffling hushed conversations that give way to deep rumbling keyboards and expressive bleeps and bloops; electronic oddities set against human oddities. If you wanted to categorize it into a tidy bucket of genre labeling, Electronic Avant-Garde is the best you could do. It’s challenging but not unpleasant; it’s simply a curious creature all its own.
The embedded “Dry Wood” video is part of a video series ( see also: “Secret Speech” and “Rue de la Bombe“) that take the conceptual elements of the record and push them even further into a visual realm. These augmenting pieces are a combination of vintage footage overlaid with esoteric texts; perhaps lyrics meant for this instrumental album or perhaps just concepts for you to ponder.
All told, Secret Speech is unique; especially considering that composer Matt Parish resides in Nashville. For a city best known for Music Row and Soulless Country Music, it’s rewarding to know that an artistic endeavor like this even exists, much less that it’s as compelling as it is.