One Album Wonders: Sonic Boom’s Spectrum


The following entry originally appeared on the Amoeblog

For this edition of One Album Wonders we take a listen to Sonic Boom, who released one album, Spectrum, in 1989.

Sonic Boom Spectrum


Sonic Boom 
is Peter Kember, an English musician born in Rugby in 1965. In 1982, whilst at Rugby Art College, he co-founded The Spacemen (later Spacemen 3) with Jason Pierce. After releasing two albums — 1986’s Sound Of Confusion and 1987’s The Perfect Prescription — Kember signed a deal withSilvertone Records for a solo album. On the resulting album, Spectrum, Kember’s professed influences such as SuicideThe Velvet UndergroundThe Stooges, and early electronic music were all on display.

Kember and Pierce reconvened as Spacemen 3 and produced two more albums — 1989’s Playing with Fire and 1991’s Recurring — before splitting acrimoniously. Pierce went on to form Spiritualized, whose music was used to sell Volkswagens. Kember went on to record both as Spectrum and E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research) — and both of which blur the lines somewhat between solo efforts and collaborations — sometimes with pioneering electronic genius Delia Derbyshire.

Peter Kember

Spectrum released four albums in the 1990s and E.A.R. have, to date, released eleven albums but as Sonic Boom remains a one album wonder. In 2012, Spectrum was released on vinyl in 2012 by Spain’s ViNiLiSSSiMO. It was also re-released on aluminum the same year by Space Age Recordings.

*****

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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