Heroines of the U.S.S.R
The solo project of Matthew Spokes, Heroines of the USSR use(s) home made software, abused instruments (largely glockenspiel),and tiny fragments of found sound to shape soundscapes through cycles of decomposition and reformation. Most records follow a particular subject. Thus far, favourites have been: rain, ice, dark cities, imagined animals.
Dawn of Dogs has been added to the archive
A Map of Lost Causes will be released by Archaic Horizon this autumn (2012)
A remix by Heroines of one of Rory’s tracks (A Kind of Dance) is the basis for this film of the same name.
2011 saw Heroines complete a new record, Moreau’s Lament. Two tracks are available here
In 2010, Heroines completed a 4-track EP called Cimmerian Nights, as a 24 minute piece called Orpheus and Eurydice ( part of which is available in the Audio Archive) . Afternoon, the final track on the Cimmerian EP can be downloaded here. Prior to that, the most recent Heroines release, Spring Snow, takes as its starting points one spring’s fall, a series of decaying tones, and a collection of manipulated, chimeric field recordings. It is available as a free download from Archaic Horizon records.
Free to download in the WDT Archive:
WDT001 – Absorbent Kid, Pasture, Winner
WDT002 – Winter EP
WDT004 – Eiote Zwn
WDT016 – Dawn of Dogs EP
Free to download at the Audio Archive:
– Submerged Ballroom and Camping Out at The Old Boathouse from Moreau’s Lament
– Orpheus and Eurydice (from Orpheus and Eurydice)
The piece comprises four parts;
*Dance of the Naiads
*Orpheus and Eurydice (which is available to download)
It was made as a wedding present for Lee and Alison, who were married on the 10th of September 2010. As Barry said to Chris at the reception – “In my day, it’s what we’d have called a ‘concept album'”. Hopefully it wasn’t too over the top. Liam contributed melodica and banjo to the second part, and Chris contributed vocals and guitar to the fourth part. For the sake of posterity, the piece was made in Ableton and Cubase using 5 second fragments of found sound, my own vocals, xylophone, water draining through a series of different pipes, miniature bells that hang in my garden, the birdsong in my garden at dusk (around July time) and a variety of effects made in Max for Live.
– Dance of the Cryptids (from ‘A Map of Lost Causes’)
As of January 2010, Dance is the most recent thing I have been working on with a view to eventually submitting the work to an actual label to see if it can be released (I am obviously excluding the 4 track EP mentioned above as ‘recent’. This will probably be made available as a free download). The 9 pieces on the recording mark a voyage made by an unnamed explorer across a vast continent, and the horrific and peculiar people and places he comes in to contact with. It is loosely based on the fictional continent of Indeshada,the topography of which makes up the setting for a book I am working on. UPDATE – A Map of Lost Causes will be released by Archaic Horizon in Autumn 2012
– York is Burning (Previously unreleased 2003)
I unearthed this, digitally speaking, whilst putting this site together. I was hoping to feature some pieces from when I was just starting out as a musician (having spent numerous years with Tomfire) and in my first year of University. This song was made in early Cubase I believe, from a discarded Tomfire sample, and a 3 minute distillation of my Dads 1960’s turntable running backwards minus a record. And now I live in York. Odd.
– March 6th 2007 (from the EP ‘Spring Snow’)
Unsurprisingly, this was completed at the beginning of March 2007, but not released for some time afterwards. It is the final piece on the Spring Snow EP, and as such symbolises the thawing process. More detailed notes are available from the Archaic Horizon zip file.
– βρίσκουμε μια θέση (from ‘είστε ζωή’)
This was from an album that I made largely as an apology to my girlfriend who I had essentially ignored for some time whilst we lived in different cities. I was completing my undergrad dissertation, and went in to a strangely insular mode of not really communicating with any one. Obviously there were bad knock on effects. The up side is that the music was successful. I also completed a book I spent three years writing called ‘Sunshine and Power-lines’ during this time. Some of it will appear in the publications archive.
– 20th December (from ‘Winter’)
This song is probably the first thing I made that I knew I was absolutely happy with. It was also the first time I adopted a technique I have used in all my subsequent Heroines work, namely getting to the stage where you are content with what you have created, and then deleting the composite files to prevent you from constantly altering the piece. As such, all the pieces available to download are very much of a specific time. This one was made in the winter of 2004, somewhere in Norwich, prior to a night of ice and power cuts.
“our spirits will not be broken. …we will continue the struggle until full independence is obtained ……and this annihilation is taken by us to be gratitude for the blood of our fathers, shed in the defense of Russian lands, for the valor of our daughters — heroines of the USSR, younger sisters, who today are jeered for their honour.”