Thursday 26 June 2014
Spaceheads: Trip to the Moon EP
Trip to the Moon EP
Electric Brass Records EBR003 www.spaceheads.co.uk
The terrain explored here is electro-acoustic, with each of the Spacehead pair resolutely on either side of the hyphen. Andy Diagram is an electro Tweedle-dee, armed with a mobile phone attached to a trumpet with a fish slice (the mobile controls the technology that modifies the trumpet sound). Whilst Dick Harrison is an acoustic Tweedle-dum, complementing and setting off Diagram’s kinetic grandiosity with organic wood-and-skin rumbles.
With Trip to the Moon, an EP with a sidereal theme, the future emerges from the past, and vice versa, which makes for lots of delightful anachronism and playful anarchy.
For example, the vehicle for the lunar trip is not a rocket but a steam locomotive. The opening ‘Cosmic Freight Train’ gathers momentum in the time-honoured tradition of musical trains like ‘Pacific 231’ or ‘Chatanooga Choo-Choo’, but something unexpected happens at cruising speed: the beats become trippier than anything Honegger or Glenn Miller could have imagined, and the glide is underpinned by a deep roots reggae bass (courtesy of guest artiste Paddy Steer).
And so it continues: cosmic klaxon, tinkling bells and diamond hard beats characterise ‘Trip to the Moon’ until Diagram drops in a quote from ‘Theme From A Summer Place’, sounding for all the world like a lounge lizard in the cocktail bar at the end of the universe.
‘Dirty Planet’ is scuzzy, honking and clamourous, and explains why Spaceheads will always be renegades on the experimental music scene. They’re much too fun to be serious! ’Spooky Action’ starts like a theme from a fifties sci-fi b-movie, complete with a part for faux-theramin before gaining quite alarmingly in intensity.
It’s undeniable that Diagram has a genius for constellated anthems, which he executes like a bugler leading the charge of a celestial Light Brigade, or an unruly cherub from some heavenly choir (angels playing trumpets is a recurring visual motif on Spaceheads sleeves, and reappear here). Whereas Harrison is the rooted one, always anchoring the music in solid terra firma, and grinding, grinding, grinding behind Diagram's skittish euphoria. Spaceheads are a truly cosmic odd couple, and the Trip to the Moon EP is a deep, solar joy.
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