Snapped Ankles are an East London art-wave collective that formed in 2011, aiming to blur mediums and boundaries through performance art, film and music. Taking their name from the infamous scene in 1990 American Thriller Misery with Kathy Bates they have been performing regularly in London at the noise rock nights of Baba Yaga’s Hut as well as honing performance concepts at underground art night they organize in warehouses and squats.
In their music they draw on the power and groove of krautrock and post punk siting inspiration from NDW, Palais Schaumberg, Early Kraftwerk and This Heat as well as the more contemporary noise/drone post techno clamour of bands like Holy Fuck and Health. They also have a lot of love for noise titans Lightning Bolt, whose urge to break down the audience/band wall by playing on the floor of the venue is certainly an aspiration that the Ankles share.
They often appear in costume, as ragged moss monsters from some pagan nightmare past, making techno rhythms from homemade ‘Log synths’ and drum triggered visuals to create a unique experience for the audience. Each song/tune/groove is grown from improvised performances and the aim is meld a kinetic live energy with stories and conversations to create a new narrative—unsettling but unstoppable at the same time.
These are just a few of the many weird and wonderful explorations that Snapped Ankles have been tinkering away with in the cosmic laboratory of sound, the fruits of which will be brought to being by the release of the Come Play The Trees album in the New Year.
Debut single True Ecology (Shit Everywhere) was released on London based House/Techno label Ears Have Eyes and garnered some great reviews online and radio support from Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson.
Snapped Ankles are part of London Topophobia art collective who host regular experimental performance nights in and around East London.
They recorded and produced the whole of the Come Play The Trees album at the studio/venue/hang out Total Refreshment Centre, and the band have collaborated with many of the associated artists including The Flamingods, recently Mercury prize nominated The Comet Is Coming, Soccer 96 and Loose Meat. The album was engineered by Capitol K (Loose Meat) and produced by Dan Leavers (The Comet Is Coming/Soccer 96).
Paddy Steer is a Zelig-like character along the timeline of Manchester’s musical activity. It’s a testament to his musicality that he has played with such a wide range of music and artists over the years, be it as a bass player, drummer, Hawaiian guitarist etc. or all these roles at the same time.
In rejection of the notion of ‘immaculate reproduction’, live performances from Paddy’s own project err more daringly and admirably on the frontier of chaotic abstraction, expression and focussed blunder, dice rolling down the hill in case of duende, as from behind his stacked array of instruments, the anarchically intrepid punk gargles through a vocoder with his xylophone, all a-clatter under disco lights and doilies.
He creates his tools, as he creates his craft, here from scratch, there from new, ever from long-garnered experience that includes running the massive ensemble Homelife, years hence. In style he is unique on the circuit that knows him, on which similarly his blinkered resolve and capacity to create must be unparalleled.
This has been reduced down over a long period of time, and applied coat by coat with subtle mastery, for richness, depth, and vivid texture, as if it were some magnificent curry, or a samurai sword. Lounge, romp, deep groove, homely and galactic-expedition whimsy, furry electronic invention, it feels akin to playing and winning a computer game made from reality, to hear.
“Sounds like a Swiss cuckoo clock made of egg boxes and horsehair, glued together by an African Moog player in a Vietnamese iron monger’s shop”. (Graham Massey)