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We’ve Made Such Advances

21 Dec


Like picking at a scab, I can’t seem to stop reading all about the extra-terrestrial trainwreck cult/religion known as the Raëlian Movement. Raël’s followers adhere to beliefs that are guiltlessly sex-positive and staunchly anti-death penalty, and while sorta naive, they don’t appear too overbearingly proselytizing, like those pesky Scientologists. Apparently, few things give em more pleasure than lying back, staring up into the night skies, and looking for signs that the space people are finally returning to live with us in balanced harmony here on Earth. What’s to worry about a little stargazing? Well . . .

For starters, there was the publicity stunt involving Eve The Clone Baby, to speak nothing of shysters allied with the Raelians like Clonaid. Then, there’s “rule by those with high-IQ scores” known as geniocracy, and the prickly matter of that darned swastika. However, their charismatic leader and prophet Raël not only had a close encounter that would make Whitley Strieber proud, but he’s a singer songwriter to boot – check out his ernest tribute to our otherworldly creators, “Elohim“. It’s an odd match not exactly made in heaven.

Raël aside . . . my musical interests have been charting similarly off-world orbits as of late. You know and love it as Space Rock. Things like NEKTAR’s Journey to the Centre of the Eye from 1971 (a vital but unheralded work upon which reams of intergalactic musical travel were lain), PSYCHIC TV’s Trip Reset from 1995 (Genesis P.’s last, great psychick stand while in exile in San Francisco) and HELIOS CREED’s On the Dark Side of the Sun from 2003 (even more inspired/tweaked than usual, and with better drumming). But I can also vouch for the fact that Space Rock, circa 2008, is as alive and creative as it’s ever been. The evidence:

legendarypinkdots1) THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTSPlutonium Blonde (ROIR Records, 2008) Utilizes a wide array of disparate but effective elements: harsh electro-skreeee textures, dislocating shifts of NWW-like déjà vu, EMS Synthi keyboard figures straight off of late 70’s Tim Blake LPs, wistful Syd Barrettesque pop songs, and Edward Ka-Spel’s uncanny but biting lyrical incantations. As always with the DOTS, they weave moments of gorgeous, tranquil utopian bliss but never ever shy away from all the ugly Earthbound shit that makes outerspace seem such an attractive destination in 2008. It’s akin to dropping L and then stumbling around an urban financial district: yes colors/sounds/emotions do bleed seamlessly, but your thoughts can’t not preserver on the cold-blooded vibes from all the uptight, callous money-grubbers who’d trample you in a sec if they thought you were in the way of an almighty dollar. It’s a powerful statement they’ve made this time, and if we gotta have political leaders aboard the Mothership, I’m voting for DOTS. Sample it here.

farflung2) FARFLUNGA Wound In Eternity (MeteorCity, 2008) Disaster Amnesiac reminded me about these guys with this post, and now I can’t stop listening. Broadly speaking, there are two camps of post-HAWKWIND Space Rockers: those who wallow in the new agey, prog/ambient aspects of that band’s 80’s/90’s work, and those that swear solidly by the sub-SABBATHian riffing, earshattering volume, hairy eyeballs and gigantic boobs that defined their first half dozen recs. FARFLUNG fall squarely in the later camp, kicking up a heavy rock meteor shower that leaves thick ionization trails wherever it’s heard. Though that doesn’t mean FARFLUNG always set the controls on overdrive; they know how to ebb gracefully, flow gently, and then power back into full-throttle hyperspace at a moment’s notice. Can aliens get stoned? I’m told that if they do, they’ll start Lactating Purple – which is an appropriately HELIOScentric point of reference for this band. Check out their one-eyed sonic attack here.

spiritsburning3) SPIRITS BURNING & BRIDGET WISHARTEarth Born (Voiceprint, 2008) Ok so this one is gonna bum the hell outta all you unrepentant HC types out there. SPIRITS BURNING are an international “Space Rock collective” comprised of balding, tied-dyed babyboomers who you may/may not recognize from stints with MIKE OLDFIELD, HIGH TIDE, CITIZEN FISH, JEFFERSON STARSHIP, MOOCH and a gazillion other frizzyhaired, tekno-pagan bands you only hear about if you read Aural Innovations webzine regularly. They jam a kind of mellow, groovy electronics-infused prog that, on a good day, updates the wiggy fusion of GONG into the 21st century in inspired fashion. On many other days, it can sound like the cloying background music you’re tortured by in Whole Food Supermarket whilst searching for foodstuffs that validate all your chickenshit “right living” middleclass aspirations.

For this rec Bridget Wishart has joined up, a woman who earned her wings singing with a GWR Records-era HAWKWIND, ca. 1990. Don’t ask me how, but her vocals & songs – the surprise grafting of zero-gravity Kendra Smith numbness onto winsome Kirsty MacColl adult-oriented galpop – make these studio concoctions way more appealing than my jaded descriptions do justice. As with the best Space Rock/Pop, here space becomes a not-so subtle metaphor for that beautiful interzone outside the narrow confines of nuclear family, workplace, & capitalist endeavour, where real freedom and happiness is again attainable. As a good friend-to-hippy, it doesn’t take much to get me floating right out there with em. The brave among you can check this out on iTunes here.