Yes, what better way to get the vein popping juices flowing right through to my temple – which at this point houses in its sockets, cathode burned eyeballs – than a back-scratching write-up of my mate, Ben Spence and his label Fuzzbrain Music?
I’m not normally one for plastering my friend’s achievements all over the internet, usually because I’m of the firm belief that what you can wax lyrical about on a public forum regarding a private relationship could probably be done so (you guessed it) in private. Anyway, the work this man single-handedly devotes to his passion and building up a whole community on simply that, is by no lesser of the words astonishing and inspiring to all who have the pleasure of crossing his path.
Of course, we hit it off straight away and to tell the truth, I was in complete dumbstruck awe that someone could have such ambitious vision about a whole world they wanted to create and it made me feel like a ride-along passenger more than ever. From that point on, I did take the wild ride consisting of the adversely non-dramatic bus journey, Jubilee line train and ANOTHER bus through the abnormal void filling the space between South East and East London, depositing me slap-bang on the border between Walthamstow and Leyton. All this so I could help the busy bee be even busier.
Fast forward five years and that inter dimensional realm just on the edge of a pink and green horizon doesn’t seem like the frivolous dream I shared with Ben in the downward peak of our adolescence. All of the artists in the Fuzzbrain community, whether it’s the chisel-jawed Essex stunners that are Getaway – driving a finely fastened guitar lead through an impossibly complex but infectious rhythm – all the way to stumbling in on the collateral damage left after Tuka has just soared an incredibly serenading psalm to tape, there is always a feeling of being members of Ben’s world without any of the pouted-lip exclusivity that membership contracts usually present themselves with as an invisible clause.
People throw around the term ‘underground music’ frequently and with good reason. The term is encompassing to anyone who wishes to use it and immediately warrants a certain self-identification by its use. This identification is of a group or collective just doing things on their own with no financial backing, simply doing what they love. Whilst the disjointed and opposing nature of the artists on the Fuzzbrain roster may flummox the more traditional genre enthusiasts, its easy to see for anyone who has spent enough time in an underground scene what all these artists have as their common denominator: the sharing of cultural struggles where music is a tool to vent…nothing more, nothing less.
Drawing to a close, the ‘Fuzzbrain Music: 2020 Visions‘ compilation is now available for all to listen and purchase physical vinyl copies. I’m not going to shout out or list any of the artists, all I would suggest you do is listen to this album from start to finish to understand everything that has been slowly simmering away behind many closed doors of terraced streets and flat blocks in the nation’s capital. This record is a permanent imprint of everything surrounding Ben’s world and I couldn’t ensue more pride for my friend in its release. All of his charm; the undecipherable rate at which he races to finish his sentences at and outrageously paradoxical arrogance has been channelled into his love for the culture with this compilation LP as a direct byproduct.
Fuzzbrain, Family, Forever.
Words by Ben Woolf