Monday, December 3, 2012

Underground Balloon Service releases single “Out Past Wijgmaal”

UK alternative music pioneers The Underground Balloon Service are releasing their first single recorded in mainland Europe, “Out Past Wijgmaal.”

UK alternative music pioneers The Underground Balloon Service are releasing their first single recorded from Belgium, “Out Past Wijgmaal.” The track represents the re-founding of the Underground Balloon Service in mainland Europe and is the first from UBS since founder Ashley (Ash) Coupland's move in 2005. It serves as the launch point for a body of future releases that will include much of Underground Balloon Service's previously unknown back catalog, as well as new material recorded in their current studio in the old Flemish university town, Leuven.

“Out Past Wijgmaal” itself pulses with a warm spaciousness that is at once ambient and direct. It features up-front but unobtrusive clean-channel guitar melodies, and a ghostly vocal track that seems to come from everywhere, yet never sounds unclear. Coupland's singing is patient and carefully intoned, with all the quality of alternative-music favorite, Morrissey, but with none of the Smiths singer's ostentation. The lead guitar sounds much like the guitar work in the famous, and gorgeous, theme from the surf film, “The Endless Summer.” Crystalline and space-age effects form the delicate and dreamy background. The overall feeling is one of comfort, mystery, and quiet groove, like a relaxed version of The Beatles' far-out classic, “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

Officially founded in Hull in the United Kingdom, 1990, Coupland writes that The Underground Balloon Service is “a musical collective that has absorbed influences from the entirety of the musical spectrum.” They have performed with the likes of Radiohead and New Orleans' Dr. John, and have a copious collection of original material that stretches into the late eighties, previous to the actual formation of the band.

The creative and unlikely name of The Underground Balloon service comes from a fascinating discussion between band founder, Coupland and a WWII veteran named Peter, whom he was teaching about the Internet. In the war, Peter and his fellow soldiers worked with barrage balloons that defended against bombing raids. For entertainment at night they had a crystal radio. Being a rudimentary radio, however, it didn't receive well, so the men took copper wire from a mine detonator and strung it up on one of their balloons, instantly producing one of the world's highest and most sensitive radio receivers, capable of listening to transmissions from throughout the western hemisphere. They named it the Balloon Service. Upon learning that the Internet was based on modem technology that utilized copper telephone wires underground, Peter saw a parallel and suggested, “So it's the Underground Balloon Service, then.”

In releasing this flagship single, Ash Coupland writes, “The hope is that The Underground Balloon Service will finally see its strange name recognized as a creator of music in the alternative genre, and will continue to flourish for many years to come.”

With quality releases such as this, The Underground Balloon Service can feel secure their hopes will be realized in spades.

-S. McCauley
Staff Press Release Writer

The single “Out Past Wijgmaal” is distributed globally by MondoTunes ( and is available at iTunes for convenient purchase and download

MondoTunes ( supplies the largest music distribution in the world and provides upstream services for many major labels in search of breakout artists. While most independent distributors reach only 45-50 retailers despite charging needless monthly and yearly fees, MondoTunes reaches over 750 retailers and mobile partners in over 100 world regions without any monthly or yearly fees.


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