Monday, December 17, 2007

classick albums: Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating In Space

"Sometimes Have My Breakfast Right Off of A Mirror"

When Spiritualized released Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space in 1997 it came packaged like prescription medication. This came as no surprise to long time fans of J. Spaceman (aka Jason Pierce) who founded Spiritualized after his group the Spacemen 3 disbanded. Founded on the idea that they would "take drugs to make music to take drugs to," Spiritualized mesmerized audiences with a reverberated blend of hypno-psych music that still feels druggier than any existing chemical cocktail.

It has been widely rumored that J. Spaceman wrote the record after the disillusionment of his relationship with girlfriend, and Spiritualized bass player, Kate Radley, who had secretly married Richard Ashcroft of the Verve. While Spaceman has denied this, it's hard to believe as much of the album is steeped in disenchanted heart break and self destruction. The liner notes read like medication, covering active ingredients, recommended dose, possible side effects and answers to questions like "What should I do if symptoms persist? (ans: try alternative medicines 'Laze Guided Melodies' and 'Pure Phase' available without a prescription)" and "What is Spiritualized used for? (ans: Spiritualized is used to treat the heart and soul.)"

Musically Ladies and Gentleman... is 70 minutes of reverberated guitar drones, massive horn swells, epic orchestrations and ethereal madness. An ominous voice welcomes you, announcing that, yes, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space," as if you had just woke up on a psychedelic voyage to the Moon. The next part of your journey arrives in the form of Spaceman's aching vocal, "All I Want In Life Is A Little Bit of Love to Take the Pain Away/ Getting Strong Today/ I Try and Step Each Day" before backing vocals whisper lines from the Elvis' "Only Fools Rush In" ("Wise men say/ Only fools rush in/ Only fools rush in/ But I, I cant help/ I cant help falling/ Falling in love with you").

The strung out orchestrations of "Broken Heart" feels like what I imagine it must be like to float in the celestial darkness, while the 8 minute "I Think I'm In Love" blends harmonica shivers with trembling bass and the druggiest lyrics this side of Surrealistic Pillow ("Cool cos I'm wired and I'm out of my mind/Warms the dope running down my spine... Free as the warmth in the air that I breathe/ Even freer than dmt... Love in the middle of the afternoon/ Just me, my spike in my arm and my spoon").

Side effects of Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space include, but are not limited to "delirium, a sense of intoxication, visual and auditory hallucinations, euphoria, fever, cold sweats, slurred speach, numbness of the extremities, lack of coordination, stupor, memory loss, bloodshot eyes, mental detachment, paranoid psychosis, temporary paralysis, jerky eye movement, imbalance, sense of well being, purposeless movement, lethargy, dizziness, visual disturbances, palpitations, disorientation, confusion, personality change, arrhythmia and changes in sexual desire," all of which can be experienced in the albums 17 minute opus "Cop Shoot Cop."

While there is an overwhelming amount of paraphernalia makes it's way into Ladies and Gentleman... it's most striking feature is its universal sense of heart broken self-destruction, of which J. Spaceman is seasoned veteran. Luckily for his own heart he got help, chronicled on Let it Come Down and Amazing Grace.

Spiritualized- Ladies and Gentlemen we Are Floating In Outer Space
Spiritualized- All of My Thoughts
Spiritualized- Home of the Brave

"Broken Heart" Live on the Jools Holland Show


No comments: