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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Spaceheads website  Spaceheads - Low Pressure [Bip-Hop - 2002]

Spaceheads are apparently real musical veterans, the Low Pressure album being their 7th already. Yet this is my first encounter with the English duo, and that's regrettable, because their music is good. Very good.

The unique sound Andy Diagram and Richard Harrison have been producing is based on live trumpet loops, drums and electronics mixed together to create something between jazz, electronics and idm. The album is full of stretched out trumpet chords through harmonizer and relaxing grooves and beats, and that makes "jazzy trip hop" an easy description. I used those words earlier to describe Nils Petter Molvær's album NP3 (reviewed here), and the similarities are obvious indeed. But Spaceheads dare to experiment more with sounds, what makes Low Pressure less suitable for the charts.

The opening title track for instance, is a wonderful relaxing track with glitchy beats covered by thick and vast layers of trumpets, before the real live trumpet solo kicks in. More tracks use that same song structure and construction, but the percussion and drums are quite varied and sometimes even funky throughout the whole album. Highlights are the title track, The Lugano Affair and Fog. The duo is helped out by session musicians on some of the tracks, but that's not really good to hear. What is good to hear is that there are three remixes on the album. Two of them are performed by the Bleachboys, a project featuring the same Richard Harrison but also Mike Routledge. On A Clear Day is a remix of Spaceheads and is more drum'n'bass alike, and works out pretty well. They also have done a remix of Low Pressure called Pressure Point and this is again a nice impression of the original. Storm Force 8 is the remix of the Spaceheads track Trance Fig 8 from another Spaceheads release that I'm not aware of so far. The result is an aggressive glitch techno track that is almost danceable, but it keeps the original strength I hear in other Spaceheads' songs.

All in all, Low Pressure is a really good, original work. One hour is a bit long, but the remixes add that little variation that is needed. Together with funny, unusual artwork this album is exceptional enough to pick up. I'll definitely check out more work of these guys when I have the chance.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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