Monday, August 27, 2007

Spacemen 3 - "Starship/Revolution"

Spectrum is playing at Brenda's on Wednesday, so it's Sonic Boom week on the Shelf. Spectrum consists primarily of Pete Kember and whoever's playing with him that week. Kember got his start as half of the genius behind Spacemen 3 (the other being Spritualized's Jason Pierce), one of the greatest bands in the history of electrically amplified music and an obvious entry in the "Arguments For" column when debating the exstence of God.

If you're only familiar with the 3's often inspired but occasionally inconsistent studio albums, you really oughta take the time to seek out some of their live recordings; they were quite a different beast on stage. Whereas the albums skew more toward ambient experimental pieces like "Transparent Radiation", the live shows were pretty much all-out aural assaults with only an occasional brief interlude like "Lord Can You Hear Me?". "Suicide" is said to have sometimes lasted as much as 45 minutes, with the band simply taping down the keys of their keyboards and leaving the guitars right in front of the amps while they took a breather mid-song.

My copy of Live in Europe 1989 has an $11.98 price tag from the late, lamented Adult Crash, a terrific East Village record boutique that once stood in the space now occupied by the also-excellent Etherea. It's a bafflingly low price for Spacemen double-vinyl; I can't imagine finding this record for under $20 nowadays, particularly in New York. The recodings are taken from various shows in Germany, which is in some ways a shame; legend has it the Amsterdam shows were absolutely mind-melting. Wonder why.

I was torn as to whether to post "Starship", a cover of the MC5's cover of a Sun Ra tune, or "Revolution", a bad-ass one-chord raver with a rambling Kember sermon in the middle. "Starship" has the cooler riff, but it's shorter; what's the point of posting a live Spacemen 3 cut if it's under six minutes? So i'm posting both; they run together in the performance anyway.

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: Spacemen 3 - "Starship/Revolution" (live)

NOTE: Unfortunately, due to the track length, I had to use a slightly lower bitrate for the mp3, as my storage site won't take files larger than 10MB unless you pay extra. Also, that slight drop in volume at about 04:00 just after "Revolution" kicks in is on the original record as well. I suppose I could have tried to correct it in SoundForge, but if it's good enough for the Spacemen 3, it's good enough for you and me.

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