Bailter Space-Robot World

August 4, 2008

Bailter Space

Robot World (Matador 1993)

http://www.mediafire.com/?boliwozyzhr

How in the hell did they pull this one out of their hat? A New Zealand band assembled after the breakup of the Gordons, Bailter Space released a couple albums that built upon their loud, hypnotic psych perfected by their previous band. I love the Gordons and Bailter Space’s Thermos and Tanker Lps and their shaggy dog take on Sonic Youth’s Sister and Evol albums. These albums just grooved as the rhythm section peaked alongside each wave of feedback. I was hooked, but unprepared for what came next.

Bailter Space signed to the Matador label. Since Gerard Cosloy was always a big supporter of the Flyinmg Nun label and New Zealand pop in general, it was not much of a surprise. What was urprising was how the band somewhat abandoned their musical blueprint and borrowed a few pages from My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Wire’s 154 and Chairs Missing and recorded an industrial strength shoegaze album. Now, this album bears little resemblance to the the ethereal muckity-muck of the era, but it does duplicate the amniotic sac of sound of the genre and transforms it into a cold, harsh space.

I always thought that Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation was the perfect soundtrack to the claustrophobia of life in the city. I tend to view things from this perspective since I grew up in the city and always looked for sounds that emulated my surroundings. “Teenage Riot” “Silver Rocket” and especially “Hyperstation” really spoke to my teenage self as I worked as a bicycle messenger in Philly. I’m sure other albums could serve as a substitute, but this encapsulated the dread of life under Reagan and Bush in a way i understood.

I still am dumbfounded that a group from New Zealand almost beat this band at their own game, but they did. Robot World is such a dense, thick slab of music. The bass overtakes most of the vocals and drives each song along to each depressing conclusion. It is almost depressing to a level of Joy Division and sort of reminds me of how modern bands like Jesu have attempted a synthesis of metal and shoegaze. Half of this album fails to live up to these words, but the rest was so far ahead of its time. It still sounds fresh today and would probably garner more respect today than at its release date. I thoroughly love every narcotic, emotionless second of Robot World and hope you will as well.

Slowdive

Pygmalion Demos

http://www.mediafire.com/?um1ms1lcuri

During my teenage years, I heard some tracks from My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything and the resultant eps and they had me at hello. I loved Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, but had no frame of reference for the sounds emanating from my shoddy boombox. I bought all I could and discovered the Creation label which led me to collect a string of eps from Moonshake, Telescopes, Swervedriver and most importantly, Slowdive. The s/t and Morningrise eps contained music even more alien than the MBV releases since it borrowed from them, but made it so sluggish, noisy and it sounded like a funeral dirge. I loved this point in their development and still hold it in the highest of regards. However, Slowdive’s full-length, Just For a day, relied on ep tracks for traction and the rest was underwhelming. Souvlaki was another bag meat shavings that we’ll for another day.

I liked Just For a day and Souvlaki just fine, but sort of wrote them off a bit until their grand finale Souvlaki was released. This album didn’t even get a proper release in the United States. The album was generally ignored in comparison to its more readily available counterparts. However, I picked up the 5(In Mind) eps and was amazed at how they had taken a u-turn from shoegaze and even traditional song structures involving choruses and crescendos to a more amorphous approach.

Souvlaki is sparse to say the least. In my mind, it gets bunched with Flying Saucer Attack’s excellent Further album as the two finest examples of a progression of English acid-folk recorded by actual English bands. Pygmalion. It’s shoegaze on a handful of qualudes and serious personal issues. It is the sound of a breakup, both musically and personally. However, I wouldn’t peg Pygmalion as a particularly sad album. It’s a doped-up bummer to be sure, but there are glimmers of optimism throughout. This charade has gone on long enough and it is supposed to be about the demos for Pygmalion. Well, the demos bear little relation to the actual album. It is obvious that the band had an overflow of songs and ideas as these demos include many songs left on the cutting floor. Many aren’t even songs, but sketches. However, this collection of demos stands on its own as a viable album, albeit even more ghostly and gloomy as its official brethren.