Stuart Benjamin


Born and resident in South Wales until the late 1990s I grew up listening to a combination of Male Voice Choirs and Death Metal. If I’m honest, both are with me still. I later moved to Wiltshire, where I am now resident in the same town as Andy Partridge of XTC. I’ve never met Andy. He’s never met me. I’m not sure what we’d do if we did meet. I’ve always listened to music that’s off-the-beaten-track. I’ve just got to listen to something new, something different. It’s a compulsion. I just can’t stand blandness in music. I must have excitement, experimentation in what I listen to. This is why I am here. Outside of all this prog-rock/psychedelia/free-jazz/punk/experimental stuff I also listen to classical music and opera, and I sing choral pieces both sacred and secular. Not because I’m any good at it, but because it’s hard to sing and the challenge is everything. My favourite band are Cardiacs, my guilty pleasure is Stevie Wonder. Go figure.

Articles by Stuart Benjamin

The Holy Family – S/T

The Holy Family proffer a mind crushing aural journey into unknown lands and territories. Do we take the golden way or the crooked path?

Cobalt Chapel – Orange Synthetic

Cobalt Chapel return with an album of dark psychedelic brilliance. Cobalt Chapel for Eurovision I say, and they would if I had any influence. Which I don’t. But what better music to demonstrate the UKs psyche.

Blanck Mass – In Ferneaux

Blanck Mass meditate on the nature of pain, but what can we find in this fine new release? A word perhaps we all once knew, but is for the moment, out of our reach.

In Memoriam: Tim Smith 1961-2020

We remember composer, musician, arranger, producer, director, Tim Smith of Cardiacs.

Under the Influence with Sterbus

Sterbus is the pseudonimo for Emanuele Sterbini and Dominique D’Avanzo, who though hailing from Rome have been making something of a splash in the UK experimental scene. Well, mostly the Cardiacs/Tim Smith and affectionate friends scene. And if that wa …

Ultra Zook – Ultra Zook

Here at the subterranean, blast shielded headquarters of Echoes and Dust, one of my erstwhile colleagues described the album as “a children’s Zeuhl album, baby’s first avant prog record. It’s adorable.” Which on first hearing is a fair description. But it’s yet another triumph for France’s burgeoning experimental/RIO scene.

Le SuperHomard – MeadowLanePark

If pop should be anything it should be experimental (it rarely is) but if you listen to Le SuperHomard’s MeadowLanePark you’ll understand exactly what is missing from the homogenized hit parade of 2019. This is grown up pop music, satisfying, and glorious.

Ni – Pantophobie (w/ Exclusive Album Stream)

French Rock In Opposition band Ni return to their first full-length player since last year’s collaboration from Poil. No knights here who say their name, just a whole bunch of phobias and bludgeoning riffs. Every band however deserves to make at least one really heavy album, and this is theirs.

Brickwork Lizards – Haneen

Brickwork Lizards are a sometimes surprising mix of Middle-Eastern/Eastern European folk group, 1920s gin-joint jazz-band, and rap ‘n’ roll dynamics. ‘How hipster’ you might say, but whilst most things hipster have an air of the inauthentic, the Lizards make this combination work delivering a record that is, by turns, joyous, melancholy, sinister, and uplifting.

Lusterlit – A List of Equipment

Lusterlit’s new EP is something of a joy for both lovers of music and books, and well-worth seeking out if you haven’t found it already. Simply gorgeous.

CAN – The Singles

CAN didn’t just fool The Kids into listening to Jazz, they also produced a number of singles all of which are brought together in this collection for the first time. Essential for fans and a great leaping in point for the new and curious…

Melt-Banana • MXLX • Weeping – The Fleece, Bristol

Cult Japanese experimental noise-core band Melt-Banana have returned to our shores! Echoes and Dust check out the Bristol date of the band’s not-to-be-missed UK and Ireland tour.

Hinterlandt – Ode to Doubt

Perhaps some of you missed Hinterlandt’s Ode to Doubt when it was released on Art as Catharsis back in January? Well, now’s your time to make amends, and make friends, with this sublimely gorgeous recording.

Dvanov – For Gathering Dust

Another Russian band to watch out for, Dvanov’s latest album has all the dark sophistication of 1980s Goth but with all the verve of modern Psych-Rock. Well worth a punt if you have the time.

Tim Bowness – Lost In The Ghost Light

Once more Tim Bowness delivers an album full of sublime heart-breaking and life-affirming prog. ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’ expands Bowness’ music into concept album territory with a somewhat timely reminder of the glories lost by a fictional 1970’s rock superstar. Well worth a look.

Cobalt Chapel – Cobalt Chapel

Cobalt Chapel reeks with the possibility of forbidden pleasures or occult horrors – the possibilities of sex and violence – that blazed down a cathode ray tube late at night.

Mister Ott – Single Shot

‘Single Shot’ is certainly a strong contender for one of this year’s better jazz releases, has a great deal of crossover appeal, and transcends the genres from which it was born, and by which it was influenced. A stunning odyssey into jazz-funk-fusion.

Lachlan Dale, Cameron Macdonald, and Evan McGregor from Hashshashin

Stuart Benjamin asked the guys behind Australian band Hashshashin some questions. “If I had to describe it to someone I would say something like “heavy progressive rock with psychedelic, experimental, drone and Middle Eastern/Oriental influences.”

The Sea Nymphs – On The Dry Land

On The Dry Land is a heady mixture of psychedelic pop, avant-garde folk, English Hymnal, and electronic experimentation. Imagine a world, if you would, where all the kids bought Syd Barrett’s ‘The Madcap Laughs’ instead of ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ and wanted to be like the quirksome Floydian frontman rather than the Bermondsey Odd-bod.

Reece Prain and Mariam Benjemaa from Diploid

Diploid’s “Is God Up There?” is a full bellowed Edvard Munch style scream at a world which, in 2016, rapidly seems to be going down the toilet. Stuart Benjamin caught up with Reece and Mariam from the band for a brief Q&A about mass murder, serial killers, death, and Prince.

Diploid – “Is God Up There?”

Bold and challenging, the punishing grind of the record is split into two parts both of which crunch down on your body as effectively as the heavy broken-glass encrusted boots of a team of angry riot-police trying to destroy a wasp nest.

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