Time’s passage only adds to the mysterious, awkward, gone beauty of the Associates, one of Britain’s greatest, most frustrating and fragile bands. These session snapshots show that Billy Mackenzie, though their most enduring talent, was dependent on multi-instrumentalist partner Alan Rankine for many early effects.
In 1982, just prior to their split, Mackenzie’s yelping, ululating voice is sliced to slivers over pensive synths on “Australia”, and swirls under the compressed disco thunder of a rethought “Love Hangover”. His first post-Rankine instinct is a voice-indulging Billie Holiday cover, before restoring more regular electronic rhythms. It’s nearly all unearthly, personal and perversely ambitious.