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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Max strength medication, 600mg,
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This review is from: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Audio CD)OK, so let's get to the important stuff...
The two bonus discs for this re-issue of "Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space" are not at all what I expected.
First of all, get out of your head the idea that this is your typical, complete-your-collection-compilation-of-b-sides-and-non-album tracks/mixes-you-couldn't-be-bothered-to buy-when-they-were-released-at-the-time-but-years-later-have-taken-on-a-significance-quite-out-of-proportion-formed-into-a-companion-album release. It is not.
Based on Amazon's tracklisting, my initial expectation (and not a bad idea at that, or so I thought) was that Spiritualized had released all of the alternate versions of the songs, to enable those of us who know this LP note-for-note/word-for-word, to rip it onto our MP3 players and reconstruct alternate sequences of the album, because: surely nobody would want to listen to (for example) 7 variations of the title track in succession, would they?
But in fact, that is EXACTLY the intention. What these bonus discs represent is, effectively, a "directors cut" of the original record. They play like an extended version, a more (no pun intended) spaced out version. It's as though the whole album's been remixed by The Orb. All the original elements are present and correct and yet it's different. It SOUNDS like the same album (better, even?), but as though heard in a dream.
Utter genius (though possibly, if I may be so bold, two versions of "Electricity" too many?)
As for the original (i.e. disc 1) - it's mildly irritating that they've "revised" the title track. But I can live with that, because discs 2 and 3 are good enough to work as a stand alone-release, albeit a pricey one.
If Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space is one of your favourite LPs of all-time then, you need this, it's as simple as that. Although, brilliant as it is, it IS overpriced.
If you're a newcomer, my advice would be buy the original first, get into that and THEN buy this one (it will hopefully have come down in price by then).
But £30 or not, I can't criticize this record any more than I can scratch titanium.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As incredible now as it was then,
This review is from: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Audio CD)I'm not quite sure what has motivated the timing of this release - Jason Pierce originally released this 12 years ago. However, let's set that to one side. Because the main disc is once again repackaged in the lovely pill dispenser packaging. Gorgeous.
This album is Pierce's masterpiece. It's where all of his ideas came together in a beautiful, touching, heart rending, lovelorn, astonishing whole. The world entire is here - love, loss, life, friendship, pain, joy, darkness and light. It's also ridiculously, ludicrously ambitious, but it hits every single target Pierce aims for. It's uplifting and utterly depressing. Joyful and miserable. One of the albums of the 90s. Possibly, although whisper it quietly, the album of the 90s (OK, probably not, but top five, certainly. It's that good) As an aside, it also contains my all time favourite sung punctuation (the comma in "Broken Heart" - "I've been told that it will heal, given time". Listen to it and you'll see what I mean)
And the two bonus discs are packed full of ideas, demos and alternate versions. Do I need a further seven (seven, count em!) versions of the title track? No, of course not. But if you are a bit of a geek like me, it is interesting hearing his ideas come together and evolve before turning into the masterful final version.
The earlier albums were him shaping his ideas, and whilst fabulous in places, they never came together as a consistent whole as this album does. And afterwards, he was too inconsistent - brilliant occasionally. But here he got it all right. Deserved to sell 10 million. Probably sold 10,000. There's no justice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Spiritualized,
This review is from: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Audio CD)One of Jasons best efforts from the stunning title track onwards there isn't a bad number on this one. Great lyrics, memorable melodies and exquisite musicianship. What more can I say.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Happened?,
This review is from: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Audio CD)Ah, the memories.............sorry got lost in thought there for a moment, but do you remember the late 90's?, yeah alright I'll continue.
Remember when (British) bands were seemingly releasing one great record a week, when the charts were a battle between the great (Pulp) the legendary (Blur) and the boorish (Oasis), Radiohead and The Super Furry Animals were constantly battling one-another for crown of most inventive and inspiring act in the world, Pavement & Neutral Milk Hotel were busy furrowing a path which American Indie would continue down for the next decade, and Jason Pierce of Spiritualized amidst all this, somehow managed to release one of the greatest long players this esteemed country has ever produced. Honestly, how did he do it?, you can almost smell the narcotics being used whenever you place this masterpeice into your stereo system.
To be honest I can't be bothered to list all the reasons this record is so great (I would be here for hours) and you can probably find the track-listing elsewhere so I can't be bothered to list them either, and to be frank I can't be bothered to tell you about all the (wonderful) extras this edition brings to the record either. I think my time would be much better spent by, y'know, actually listening to the bloody thing. But then you may ask, why bother writing a review at all?, why indeed, and to be honest (again?) I don't know. Maybe the sight of seeing N'Dubz and Pixie Lott battle for chart supremecy and the distinctly average Arctic Monkeys somehow becoming the critic's darling has prompted me to respond, and this is the only way my shallow, lonely mind could see how.
Maybe if I go on Amazon and declare my love of 'Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space' it will in turn create a vortex by which suddenly SFA's 'Dark Days/Light Years' becomes the number one record of the year, and The Flaming Lips 'Embryonic' gets the kudo's it so rightly deserves. And (whisper it) Jason Pierce returns like a pheonix and manages to spit-roast the entire X-Factor judging panel on national TV.
But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself here, just buy this beautiful creation and wonder at it's greatness all other again, and (cliched phrase warning) to be honest (one last time) I've never been a particulary religious person so I don't know what God was doing for the first six days, but on the seventh he created 'Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space'.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars back in black,
This review is from: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Audio CD)Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space...
Released in the same year as Be Here Now by Oasis, Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space preceded the Oasis album by two months. It also towers over it by the height of a few giants' shoulders.
Is this a concept album? No, of course it's not. It tells a story, and a raw one at that: "Love in the middle of the afternoon/ just me, my spike and my arm and my spoon". Scenes are set with acuity of artistic vision, and this reissue - with its multiple versions of the album's songs - shows just how well characterised the whole story is.
So, a raw/ human/ humble story told. Not in a Mike Leigh/ dubstep way, though. The eternal ****ing fail of social realism is that it can only look at surfaces: it can't by its nature look at the human soul, only behavioural manifestations of the effect of the class system on the psyche. Social realism is about tobacco tins and funny walks and feeling superior to ginger people and wallpaper.
For me, the track that ties all this together is The Individual - it's a howl of pain, and it's not an easy listen - but you're right there with the protagonist emotionally - not judging the carpet or laughing at the the walk or the make of the VHS player.
Genius is layered upon genius when Broken Heart starts up - the contrast is immediate, opiated: wound up-ness followed by the same view from a calm place. And then ... No God Only Religion - Jesus, this track is amazing. The jangle of church bells and unanswered telephones that rang all night, incommunicado.
Does the story have a happy ending? Cop Shoot Cop is mediumistic beyond the grave stuff. Maybe yes, maybe no. But it's not social realism, so for me it's a yes.
This reissue is overpackaged - it's like the original presented as Sobranie Black Russians, when a Euro Shopper 35p baked beans tin would have done just as well. The extra tracks - over two hours' worth - are a magnetic listen.
Great, great music.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece revisited,
This review is from: Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (Audio CD)First of all, this is not the edition for you if you've never heard the album. It's absolutely necessary to consume the original LP in it's 70-minute, stand-alone form. This will be just too much for the uninitiated, and since Jason Pierce likes his drug references, I'll risk a bad pun and say you'd overdose on this.
For those of us that have heard the original (and listened to it countless times over the last 13 years), some notes on the deluxe box set:
The packaging, while a nice nod to the original pill box, also misses the point of the original in that it no longer looks like a box of pills. The colour and card stock used are wrong. Regardless, it's nice to see such care and attention being lavished upon this box set.
The track timings are different. Mainly because the revised first track is longer than the one originally issued in 1997. The final track has been trimmed since it had extra silence at the end to push the running time to exactly 70 minutes.
As far as I can tell, apart from the original version of the title track now being present, the album has been untouched. No remastering, no volume boosting. Nothing. All is as it should be.
Jason doesn't believe in ripping off his fans. When the Electricity single came out in '97 over two discs he said it was at the record company's insistence: he had intended it to form a live 'mini-album,' but they wouldn't capitulate.
In the same way, while the extra two disc here may look complete, they are not. Missing are early versions of Don't Go and Stay With Me, the instrumental versions of Broken Heart and Cool Waves, the radio edits of Electricity and I Think I'm In Love, and the Abbey Road EP versions of Come Together and Broken Heart (although those last two aren't strictly anything to do with the album, they were recorded later).
All of those tracks, however, are on The Complete Works Vol. 2, so credit is due to Mr Pierce for not padding this out to four discs and bumping the price further. The only thing truly missing is the originally-issued title track. I guess they're presuming you already own the original edition, and if you don't why would you want a butchered version of the song, re-recorded in haste due to clearance issues? I, however, feel that a box full of alternate version should have included this.
Finally, on to the alternate versions which are present. At first glance, this appears to be the same as any other box set of sessions, and I had deja vu when I looked at the track listing as this is how many Miles Davis 'Complete <whatever> Sessions' appeared: take after take of the same track.
No previous reviewers have mentioned this, but it appears the Spaceman realised that wasn't enough: instead, several of the sequences have been made into suites of sorts. Several versions of the title track are cross-faded into one another, forming an extended version which highlights individual parts of the song.
In the case of I Think I'm In Love, we can hear Jason giving instructions to the choir as the demo ends, and we break into the gospel session as if the song were intended to play out this way. Other songs are split into tracks to highlight sections, despite the fact they appear to be one long take: Cop Shoot Cop is a case in point.
What this means is that this extended set is not just for the completists, and it makes a compelling listening experience in itself. For those of us that have heard this music over the course of more than a decade, it's a great way to revisit one of the recorded highlights of British music of the 1990's.
Highly recommended to fans of the original, and it is worth the high price.
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