Stratus: Bridging The Gap Between Sigur Ros And Boards Of Canada

Seven years after their first album 'Fear Of Magnetism', Mat Anthony and Martin Jenkins return with their second offering...
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Stratushave returned with an album full of cosmic wide open instrumental spaces for urban living. Mat Anthony and Martin Jenkins are Stratus. Producers and remixers, whose studio credits include Serge Gainsbourg, Kylie, Playgroup and Calexico. ‘Fear Of Magnetism’ their 2005 debut CD projected a cinematic ambience, perfect for poking through the headphones and massaging the parts of your brain only music can reach.

Seven years on since the ‘Fear Of Magnetism’, they arrive back in the post-music industry apocalypse ruled downloads and Spotify broadcasting ear-candy ‘for free’ across the digital landscape. Releasing a new album is for love not money but they just couldn’t leave it alone. “This is the difficult second album” explains Mat. “We took time off. Martin had a baby and other projects took off. It took longer than ever anticipated.”

Techno pioneer Derrick May described techno being the result of ‘George Clinton and Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator with only a sequencer to keep them company’ who would be in Stratus elevator?

"A major influence is Serge Gainsbourg, particular the Histoire de Melody Nelson LP and his string arranger Jean-Claude Vannier. That amazing ‘70s cosmic big rock epic sounds.  Francois de Roubaix is an insanely talented guy who sadly died quite young. He sound tracked a lot of French B movies, tinkered with strange synth sounds and weird effects. I’d have to squeeze in David Axelrod too; he’s an amazing composer, elements of rock and big orchestral arrangements. Those three definitely be working in our elevator."

‘Fear Of Magnetism’ their 2005 debut CD projected a cinematic ambience, perfect for poking through the headphones and massaging the parts of your brain only music can reach.

What instruments would keep them company?

"Weird esoteric bits of kit we could make noise and jam on. The Roland Space Echo, an old school tape echo loved by Portishead; its analogue and makes wonky sounds great for psychedelic music. Kawai 100f, this is Martin’s pride and joy making strings to drum sounds."

Your new sound has been described as the missing link between Sigur Ros and Boards Of Canada?

"These are two bands that are big influences. In recent years lot of weird psyche bands and compilations and undiscovered tracks have popped up. We’re both into country psychedelic sound, both Londoners and enjoy getting out of the Metropolis to the countryside and the sea. We write music in London inspired by all these outdoor places. It’s music that lends itself to being on the beaches. We love electronic music but what we do has a pastoral, gently broken sound."

You exist as a studio outfit, are there plans to play live in the future?

"We’d love to, but with so many sounds going on, we’d need a string quarter, drums, bass, the whole thing. We don’t really want to do a laptop appropriation; I like live music to be live music. Music we do is an aural accompaniment to the environment we are in, an escape from the urban trappings. Late at night headphone music, made in the badlands of Hackney tuning into a filmic element and picturing those wide screen deserts, blue skies, wide open  spaces, the stuff we don’t get in London. That’s when music makes the most sense to us."

Read more from Rowan at his blog Chairman of the Board, Surf Blog

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Stratus - Look to the Sky

The new album is out 20th August on CD/DL  and is available from independent stores

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