Sunday 21 August 2022

Back Into Space

This post originally started out covering a completely different artist, but yesterday I watched Sisters With Transistors and it took a bit of a turn. I could still make a post of the artists featured, but this time I'm going to focus on one of the unsung highlights - the credits song by the aptly named The Space Lady

Fernand Leger - Forms In Space (1950)

I've talked a bit recently about DIY sounds and lo-fi recordings - this forms a big part of the aforementioned documentary but also is a perfect embodiment of the kind of sound The Space Lady employs. A Casio MT-40, a battery powered amp and a headset microphone is pretty much the extent of her gear setup. Unlike the bedroom melancholy of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, who employs a similar setup - the end result is a quite psychedelic experience, the track I've chosen to illustrate this Synthesize Me does wonders to show that off. Those of you that are big fans of Broadcast like myself will find yourself in familiar territory here, especially if you've hears some of the demos from Tender Buttons. Synthesize Me is a lovely listen, the perfect capstone to the documentary and the kind of track I could see myself discovering on one of Oneohtrix Point Never's mixtapes from around 2010 or so.

The majority of the other content on that album consists of covers from various other artists (befitting, as The Space Lady started as a street performer). These stripped and re-contextualised covers have a real charm to them, though I have always found that with electronic covers of otherwise not-electronic material. The most left field example on here might be this one of Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild. I still like it, but it's not quite as enthralling as Synthesize Me. I imagine part of the experience is being lost, given her street performance roots - I think I might prefer the recording from that video to the version on the album, but even so it is not without its moments.

In keeping with the theme of this post, there's also a cover of Major Tom on here - though not the Bowie version as I originally thought, rather the Peter Schilling single from 1983. This and Synthesize Me are perhaps the two tracks I would point to for a crash course in this kind of sound, as they sound exactly like the off kilter early experiments in electronic pop, The kind that a very young me would stumble across in my dad's tape collection and be entranced by (But perhaps thats the recording quality talking). Specifically I'm thinking of tracks like Polyphonic Size's Girlscout, albeit through a more psychedelic lens are where my mind goes first.

There's some other interesting bits on there too, the cover of Sweet's Ballroom Blitz sounds like it could have been made in that 70's era, sort of in the vein of Switched-On Bach. I'm going to call it a day here though, I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at this album, it's a bit different to my standard fare but if you've got similar taste to me I'm sure you'll find something to enjoy. As mentioned up top this post was originally going to focus on a completely different artist but I repurposed it into this one! I'll try and knock up the second one soon enough but until next time: as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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