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Data 70 – Space Loops: The Complete Sessions


Data70 - Space LoopsThe future could be what it used to be.

Are you disappointed in the lack of flying cars and chrome cities? Disappointed in the lack of robot maids? Miffed at the persistence of pesky inconveniences like war and famine?

Retro-futurism is the idea of the future in the past, most typically illustrated in the Atomic Age ’50s utopianism of Disney’s Tomorrowland. As real life continued to be real, the present, you can watch the gradual decline of optimism through the ’80s rustbelt cyberpunk, and we eventually just stopped talking about the future all together, falling into nostalgia. The future had let us down, and we were pretty pissed about it.

Much has already been written of the implications of people’s retro-fetishization. The implications of the hauntological current, a feeling of both revering the past and ignoring it. We are living in an eternal present that encompasses 140 years of recorded data. You can live in whatever era you wish, make of the past what you will, and ultimately shape the present, and thus the future.

It’s important to consider the context, what kind of record Space Loops is, was and was trying to be, when yr listening to it? Space Loops is an artifact, three separate 7″ EPs, 10 sides of bleeping radiophonic synthesizer groove. It’s a series of one minute miniatures, closest in spirit to anonymous, workhorse incidental music for TV adverts and education films. The tracks have names, but they come and go as they please. It’s basically a musical Buddha Box, truly Space Age Bachelor Pad furniture music. These tiny themes seem like they have a viral life of their own, custom made for production, destined to find their way into futuristic mixes, podcasts, radio and experimental video. Space Loops are the true spiritual descendants of De Wolfe and KPM.

Bob Bhamra makes music as West Norwood Cassette Library and John Chambers is part of Sunray, and they have been making music together since they were six. There is a spirit of pure sonic adventurous creativity here, a love of early ambient techno like Aphex Twin and too much time listening to old soundtracks. It is like Erik Satie‘s Gymnopédes, performed by Daphne Oram.

These 50 miniatures are constructed from humble means, a single cheap white keyboard, adorned with metal bells and occasional Indian drones, that gives these space loops an occasional whiff of exotica. It’s mainly synthetic, though, it grooves at times and bleeps and bloops like Dr Who in black matter others. It seems to share a kinship with acts like Stereolab and Broadcast, of bands that get down with dusty funky ’70s kids’ theme songs – shall we call them the inevitable offspring of Boards Of Canada?

The pair starting making music together in 1999, however, so this is no mere copycatting. The past can be a lot to deal with, at times, struggling with the weight of our inspiration, like those giants are standing on our shoulders and they’re keeping us down. The same can be said of modern technology: anything being possible is more intimidating than being limited by technology (look at screenshots of even the most humble drum ‘n’bass remix for illustration).

Data 70 have decided to chuck it all, and go back to the roots of electronic music, before people were concerned with genre and trend. Pure musicality, pure creativity. All of a sudden, anything is possible again.

Let this fantastic set transform yr pad into the chrome hover palace that you truly deserve.

-J Simpson-

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