Sub Loam

Ruderal Memory

In a recent interesting scientific study, Joseph Forgas found sadness has many unappreciated benefits. ‘Growing evidence suggests gloomy moods improve key types of thinking and behaviour, Forgas asserts in a new review paper aptly titled ‘Don’t worry, be sad!’ For good evolutionary reasons, positive and negative moods subtly recruit thinking styles suited to either benign or troubling situations, he says. Each way of dealing with current circumstances generally works well, if imperfectly.’ While the term ‘ruderal’ means: ‘(of a plant) growing in waste places; along roadsides or in rubbish’. If we connect the two ideological stems together, it lends itself to a way of appreciating Sub Loam’s on track, morose effort more than we might usually do.

Take the patchwork – musky soprano saxophone mixed with sounds of paper blowing past a roadside in the wind. Heavy on hiss in the mix, generated as it is by being in a live 45 minute tape loop, sounding like water caught in a lightning strike, the track burbles away in the opening 5 minutes with a refrain like the Theremin-melodics of Alexander Thomas. The timbres slowly extend in a paltry fashion to bowed dissonance. When the textures align, the business of the mix begins to turn more overcast. Yawning, repeated motifs signal a lorry caught in its own headlights in freeze frame. The lorry doesn’t know where to go, so it becomes jack-knifed on the breeze by the focussed force of the passage.

This work may take a play to get into fully, but the mysteriousness and density of Thomas Shrubsole, aka Sub Loam’s creation I found to be strangely compelling, and refractively introspective – a quantification where the original intent has been matched onto the developed mindset of me, the listener and left to create an extroverted storyline. The package is highly limted to 50 physical releases each with parameter-driven artwork.

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