Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trish Keenan (Broadcast), R.I.P.

Originally published by PopMatters on January 14, 2011

The news yesterday that neo-psychedelic chanteuse Trish Keenan, founding member of Broadcast, had been hospitalized for pneumonia was troubling, but it might not have seemed nearly serious enough. According to a press release from Warp Records, Keenan died in the hospital on Friday morning.

It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9am this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care.

Our thoughts go out to James, Martin, her friends and her family and we request that the public respect their wishes for privacy at this time.
This is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly—a unique voice, an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. Rest in Peace. - Warp Records
For fans of Stereolab and the United States of America, Broadcast’s ascension in the late ‘90s was like a gift from outer space. Combining a spy film aesthetic, swathes of electronic drone, found sounds and the delicately glorious vocals of Keenan, the band quickly established itself as a favorite among indie nerds like myself.

Though their last album proper was released in 2005 (Tender Buttons), the band was still an active concern, releasing singles, compilations and playing live. Most recently, Broadcast collaborated with the Focus Group on a celebrated mini-album (2009’s Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age) as well as touring extensively. Broadcast performed at the Matt Groening-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Minehead, Somerset, England in May 2010 and had just returned from a tour of Australia in December.

Keenan leaves behind a legacy of deceptively complex music with Broadcast, a journey worth undertaking to find the simple beauty of her voice and the music’s inherently approachable harmonies buried under a wonderful mix of soothing psychedelia.