Boomkat Product Review:
Pete Swanson & Jed Bindeman’s Freedom To Spend reissue a reel 1984 gem from Robert Cox’s (aka Rimarimba) Unlikely Records, refracting a spectrum of his musical alter egos over 10 tracks of lilting ambient, folk and synth wooze from the top shelf.
Newly transferred from a copy of the impossible-to-find cassette and remastered to taste, the set spies a microcosmic niche of the UK post-punk scene from one of its oddest outposts; a quaint seaside town in ye olde Suffolk, that also doubles as the UK’s largest container ship port. From these historic quarters, Robert Cox coined a deeply endearing, melodically personalised style of instrumental songwriting under various guises - Rimarimba, The Same, General Motors, Piers of The Realm, Someone Else - which are all included on this set, originally dispensed via his Unlikely Records boutique a lifetime ago, and now lovingly dusted down for new ears by Freedom To Spend.
Upon its original release in ’84, we’d imagine that unwitting listeners to ‘Felixstowe Rocks’ would understandably think it was all the work of multiple artists, such is the subtlety of Cox’s stylistic shading from track to track. Picking up at the fata morgana-like shimmer of his synth vignette ‘Tubular Turd’ as General Motors, and leaving off with the 24 minutes of lathered guitar tape loops of ‘D Scapes,’ the set speaks to breadth and nuance of Cox’s early vision, swaying between the microtonal synths and smoke curl guitar of ‘Manic’ under his Pier of the Realm alias, to an exquisite arabesque as Somone Else, while a trio of charms as The Same beautifully wander off along palm wine-styled Afro guitar tangents.
It’s speculation on our part, but we only imagine that living near a port, or by the seaside, has lent a genuine wistfulness and wanderlust to Robert Cox’s sound. Like spiritual descendants Stroom over the North Sea in Ostende, or even Teresa Winter up the coast in Bridlington, there’s a gentle wit and palpable sense of being pulled away by the elements, dreaming about other worlds, to Robert Cox’s music that ties all his aliases in a ribbon bow, and makes ‘Felixstowe Rocks’ really rather special.