Monday, January 27, 2014

"...acting as an aerial, picking up the sound..."

Space Pirate Radio is 40 years old.  And we are celebrating the music.  The soundtrack to the madness and mental state of my little midi-minuit fantastique.  The wireless of the weird.  "That space music."

As discussed before, this odd new musik coming out of Britain and Europe, inspired by psychedelic rock from San Francisco, Eastern music, jazz, classical, sci-fi film soundtracks and cheesy lounge music...this mix of moods and enthusiasms motivated the birth of the show.  The Beatles and Pink Floyd had broken the rules, others were following.  Why wasn't the U.S. of A. tuned in?

This had to be changed. Freeform non-commercial FM radio was the hope for innovation.  But commercial radio had to be subverted.  AM radio would play the edited version of The Doors' "Light My Fire."  FM the full piece.  Plus "The End" and "When The Music's Over."

Longer cuts over the 2 minute single played on a turntable that was sped up, creating that Chipmunks quality so necessary for extra ad time.  Basta!  "We want our sounds, and we want it........NOW!"  :)

Pink Floyd's "Echoes" and/or "Atom Heart Mother."  The Beatles "Revolution #9."  Brian Auger & Julie Driscoll doing Donovan's "Season of the Witch."

So how about this new stuff?  Tangerine Dream's "Atem."  Amon Duul 2's "Yeti."  Ash Ra Tempel.  The Cosmic Jokers.  Popol Vuh.  Heldon.  Banco del Mutuo Soccorso.  Le Orme.  Can, for Goddess' sake!

George Harrison, liberally helping himself to others' music on "Wonderwall" and "Electronic Sounds."  Zappa's "Freak Out"?  Slide into Guru Guru's "UFO" or "Kanguru."  Early Kraftwerk, Kluster (with a K, followed by Cluster with a C ), and Klaus Schulze, the pre-Wagnerian dreamer.

And Mike Oldfield.  Because of Soft Machine and Kevin Ayers.  And Robert Wyatt.  And Daevid Allen.

Gong.  Caravan.  Hatfield and the North.  Egg.  National Health.  Canterbury or Oxford?  The English Magick...from Small Faces' "Ogden's Nut Gone Flakes" (one of my first import purchases, in the plastic snap case, with fold out and ciggie papers) to Manfred Mann with and without the Earth Band.

Kate Bush, Incredible String Band, Gentle Giant, Gryphon and Third Ear Band.  Curved Air and Darryl Way's Wolf.

France: Ange.  Mona Lisa.  Atoll.  And Magma!  Spain: Granada.  Triana.  Japan: Sadistic Mika Band.  Far East Family Band.

Alquin, Kayak and Earth & Fire from Holland.  Telex from Belgium.


I still have my hand written, improvised playlist from that first Space Pirate Radio show of Saturday night/Sunday morning January 27th, 1974.  (This was in essence an audition show, live and at full tilt bluff.  The midnight to six experiment fooled the teachers, and Sunday night/Monday morning, the Deadest of Airtimes, would become my grave robbing broadcast home.)

The show opened with Hawkwind's "Earth Calling" from the double live "Space Ritual" album.  Perhaps not the aesthetically best first choice (after all, Hawkwind permanently deafened my left ear at their Space 1999 show with Man in Los Angeles at the Embassy Concert Theatre), but its "We've landed Earthlings...Protect Your Women" tone seemed appropriate on a radio station accustomed to Jackson Browne.  :)   I was making an entrance.  And trance?

Entranced!   :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
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