mm- Wacky spacers
Forget sanity. Here’s some Scousers. Phil Miller fries his brain.
We all know them by now. We've seen them on ‘Top Of The Pops‘ and TH Friday.‘ We can hear them in every department store and in every unit- shifting record emporium in town. The lead singer has his hair shaped like a motorcycle helmet and sings his band’s three minute potted operas in an odd mix of Ray Davies‘ twang and the stilted mannerisms of various white reggae chanters. They're one of the best new singles bands around. They‘re Space. They're from Liverpool. But, as everyone knows by now, they don’t sound anything like the Beatles. Guitarist and co-songwriter Jamie Murphy scoffs at the suggestion that they might. ‘The whole band thinks that guitar bands are shit. In fact, we think they’ve had their day. I mean. we love the Beatles, but I don’t see why
‘Whatever we do, we bring each other down to earth, it anyone gets above their station we say “Shut up, yer tit” and it’s sorted. We’re not trying to be something we’re not. Maybe, though, we’re trying to live up to something that we are.’
we should copy them. That type of music has been and gone. and people should move on. We listen to the Prodigy, Orbital, Cypress Hill. it doesn’t make any sense to live in the past.‘
Space don’t. One of their most refreshing qualities is their separation. musically and lyrically, from the new wave of trad retro-rock that has ﬂooded the charts. There‘s no earnest wittering about rivers, dudes or peacock suits in Space‘s world. No, in Space's warped
take on life, everything is either a potential movie script or an object for their bizarre acidic humour. However, Space combine their disturbing characters and freaky narratives with intuitive melody so well that the band. you begin to feel. could compress Wagner's Ring cycle into three minutes and still have time fora xylophone solo. So it‘s not really much of a surprise that their own brand of peculiar British p0p has touched a public nerve. Compare them to some of the presently popular rock dullards and it's a blessed relicfto escape into their parallel pop universe. Jamie agrees. ‘We‘re not exactly based in real life are we? In real life. John Major doesn‘t sell E's. and I‘m not the love child ofthe Queen. We‘d rather take the piss out of things. use black comedy. than all that boy-meets-girl stuff. We hate all that. We know people listen to our lyrics. whereas most bands don‘t mean nothing.‘
lri combination with bassist Tommy
Space: wrecked every night and throwing hotels out oi windows
Scott (composer of all their sweeping. cinematic singles so far). Jamie and the band have fashioned their debut album Spit/(HIV. an eclectic or irritatingly patchy collection. depending on your taste. However sprawling at times.
‘The whole band thinks that guitar bands are shit. In tact we think they’ve had their day. I mean, we love the Beatles, but I don’t see why we should copy them. That type of music has been and goneJ
Black Grape producer Stephen Lironi keeps the sound together with some style: Space's songs resemble pocket symphonies. As we speak. Jamie hears that the album has just vaulted into the upper reaches of the album chart. following the sucess of the quirky but
lovely ‘Female ofthe Species‘. He shrugs it off. ‘At the moment we're all still level-headed. We're still the same knobheads who were unsigned three years ago. we‘re the same people. Know what I mean. la?’
Surely now is the time for Space to celebrate their success with some good old-fashioned rock hedonism? Jamie's having none of it. ‘We can't be arsed with the rock ‘n‘ roll lifestyle mate. we just can‘t be arsed. It's all been done before, and we've done it all before at school when we were fifteen. We still get wrecked every night though, and throw hotels out of windows.’ Hotels out of windows? Bloody hell. Jamie remains modest. ‘Whatever we do, we bring each other down to earth, if anyone gets above their station we say “Shut up, yer tit" and it's sorted. We’re not trying to be something we're not. Maybe. though, we‘re trying to live up to something that we are.‘
Space play the Garage. Glasgow on Fri 4 Oct.
ramm— Praise the chord
Think harpsichord and you tend to think baroque. But proving that the instrument need not be restricted to the realms of Bach and Handel is Dutch harpsichord virtuoso Annelie de Man who visits Scotland to launch the Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust season with a programme oi contemporary music for harpsichord and electronics. ‘She is one oi those
musicians who are trying to create new repertoire ior her instrument by collaborating all the time with composers,’ says Geoiirey King, one oi the triumvirate oi artistic directors oi ECAT, who tor a number oi years has lived and worked as a composer in Amsterdam. To realise her aims, de Man has commissioned works irom a number oi composers, King included, and she plays his White Roseas part oi her ﬂueen’s liall programme. Lyell Cresswell, the New Zealand/Scottish composer is also represented through his Bisbigllando, again written specially ior her.
King views such collaborations as ‘marvellous, because so many musicians treat music as something sitting in a library. But she’s proactive
and trying to create a new sound for the harpsichord, a new identity for it which is of our own time.’ Working with her husband, Roderik de Man, a composer and electronics artist, Annelie will alternate purely acoustic pieces with electronic elements, including Boderik’s Chordis canam. Although the music will certainly be striking, so too will the harpsichord itseli, its Mondrian-inspired red, white and blue case only rivalled by Annelie de Man’s spinet, which, with its original legs replaced by new ones made to resemble ladies legs in stockings, King describes as ‘gimmicky, but not vulgar.’ (Carol Main). Ammelie de Man, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 11, 7.45pm.
Ammeile de Man: proactive approach
38 The List 4-17 Oct 1996