Spite Zoo is the modular synth output from Manchester based Matt Preston. Spite Zoo manages to somehow contain all the randomness and complexity from his massive modular system to write some of the freshest analog electronic music we’ve heard in a long time. In this two hour exclusive TakeAway mix, all of which are original Spite Zoo tracks, you will notice just what we mean. He writes a varying mix of melodic, hard, atmospheric, abrasive tunes varying in tempo and groove – sometimes techno, sometimes beats/breaks, moments of trance, long ambient movements – an exciting and rich mix just for you.
Matt has been writing music since the age of 15, when he used drum machines and recording gear to produce noisy guitar-based tracks in the vein of Sonic Youth and Big Black.
In 2002, under his Blue Light Fever alias, Matt had success with releases on Robert Miles label S:Alt, yes that Robert Miles (cue ‘Children’ memories). National airplay, lots of club plays – you can check out an anthology of Blue Light Fever tracks here. He was chaotic for the next few years. This proved too much so a break was needed but it wasn’t long before he was back and this is when he entered the modular world.
His studio was nicknamed Spite Zoo so as Matt recorded modular jams and experiments he created a Soundcloud page “Spite Zoo Experimental Lab” to house these demos. Since then Spite Zoo has become its own entity and the focus of his creativity.
How he gets started on a track -
Often a track begins with a completely blank sheet, with only the vaguest idea of what will emerge. Some experiments with the modular are undertaken, and – even when the intention is NOT to compose a ‘proper track’- 90% of the time the results warrant pressing record. With a modular synth you know that you will never get that EXACT sound or sequence again, and if it isn’t recorded there and then, it will probably be lost forever.
Take a look at the gear in the Spite Zoo studio -
If you’re into modulars you probably recognise the name matttech – this is Matt’s presence on the Muff Wiggler forum and also on his Bandcamp pages which contain module tests an patch ideas. These are great and beloved of musos, and because of this he has been commissioned to produce demos of modules from some of Tooths’ favourite eurorack makers Synthetic Sound Labs (SSL), WMD Devices, and Intellijel – sometimes also contributing design ideas and Beta-testing.
We asked Matt what he listens to when he isnt writing music and it seems the answer is anything which is furthest sonically from his own output.
At the moment relaxing means listening to The Stranglers, Christian Death and Crass… Other reliable favourites include: The Gun Club, The Anti-Group (TAGC), The Germs, Diamanda Galas, Noisia, Poison Girls, David Bowie, Atari Teenage Riot, Bauhaus, Amon Tobin, Adam and the Ants, Arcade Fire, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, MIA, The Proletariat, Foetus, Conflict…
Spite Zoo has come a long way quickly and Matt has told Tooths that he has been offered a few record label deals already. Due to these possible label deals this mix is dine in only – no takeaway on this one. Doesnt matter cause you can listen to it here for as long as you like, whenever you like.
01 – Memories and Clues (00.00.00)
02 – The Dream Sequencer (00.02.32)
03 – A Rock and a Dig (00.18.06)
04 – Too Much Chatter (00.28.57)
05 – Terrorpad (00.39.24)
06 – Wogglebuggery (00.44.50)
07 – Down in Derker (00.48.03)
08 – Homo-Erraticism/ You Were My Blood/ Lost to the Trees (00.54.07)
09 – The Chiming Coil (01.07.37)
10 – The Cycle of Life (01.18.26)
11 – Machine Elves (01.26.09)
12 – Below Passgate (01.33.31)
13 – Switch It Up (01.41.47)
Check out more of Matt Preston’s work -
Blue Light Fever -
2012 EP – “Head For The Exit” -
An anthology of unreleased Blue Light Fever tracks (1996 to present day) -
Debut Album/ Singles, released on S:Alt Records -
S:Alt Blue Light Fever Biography -
Last FM page -