I distinctly remember playing the Andrew Broder fronted Fog band’s 10th Avenue Freakout album first thing on a Saturday morning when I worked in the London branch of a record store chain that wasn’t HMV back when. What really surprised me was how disconnected everyone else was from something I was so deeply getting into. I mean, when you work somewhere like that, in such a closed and judgemental environment, you’re always looking to impress people or at least play them something so that they’d turn to you and be like, “what is this?” but on this day, one customer tried to tell me the music I had chosen as shop ambience was “kind of depressing”.
It was very grey outside and probably raining but for me it was 10:30am on a particularly hungover university Saturday so I’d probably have been inclined to just flash a half smile, agree with her and then curse her opinion under my breath as she walked away. But before I knew it my manager – a very middle aged soul and funk fan with a bald head, pink pinstriped shirt and a beautifully realised soul patch – butt in and told the lady that actually, we’d sold 3 copies since it’d started playing twenty minutes before and that perhaps she was hearing it wrong. And that was really something for me. Not the three record sales – a lot of the time people are subjective to the music that’s playing when they’re in that mode of buying and besides, we’d sold a lot of weirder, harder alt-rap shit to people at 9pm right out of the CD player – but the fact that this guy who, in his young employee’s eyes, was clearly a million miles away from everything, musically, stepped in and defended his honour was honestly kind of beautiful.
I do sometimes sit and wonder what happened to that guy. I know he went to another branch and then a few months later the chain went bankrupt. But sitting here, playing Andrew Broder’s latest release, Visinvisible – a forty minute long melding of nonlinear drones, half beats and reverberations described as “a return to his foundation as a turntablist and sound sculptor” – to a room full of pretty confused looking co-workers, I do wonder if he’d still be so quick to jump to my defence now regardless of how much personal enjoyment I’m getting out of the swamped permutations.
Andrew Broder’s Visinvisible is out now.