It’s about time they were recognised as geniuses.
Ian Wade 2009-11-11
Back in the mists of time (circa 1977), when space travel seemed fairly inevitable and electronic music was still in a relative infancy, there was a strange and enchanting tune called Magic Fly in the UK top five, performed by a band in spacesuits. That band was Space, about whom very little was known other than they were French and seemed slightly creepy. Magic Fly became, over here at least, a one-hit wonder and was pretty much unavailable subsequently. But for some people, that tune, along with the same year’s I Feel Love, was the dawn of a whole new era of cosmicness.
While I Feel Love is understandably the greatest record ever made, spawning entire careers – The Human League based their whole manifesto on Martyn Ware bringing a copy of that and Trans-Europe Express to Phil Oakey’s house and saying, “this is the future” – Space fell a bit by the wayside. Not so over in their native France, where between 1977 and 1981 they sold several million albums and quietly seeped back into consciousness once the likes of Daft Punk (wearing masks to hide their faces? Wherever did they get that idea from?) and Air (who could owe their career to the luscious tones of their forefathers) came along and made French disco a far more enticing concept than it had been previously.
Space’s albums have been as rare as hen’s teeth for nearly 30 years, but now, thanks to this magnificent compilation, their music can now rightfully be placed up there with the likes of Giorgio Moroder, acknowledging them as disco pioneers. Magic Fly is naturally here, alongside Carry On, Turn Me On, an erotic epic that swings from inventing intergalactic dubstep into a laser-drenched drama fest. Other tracks such as Robbots and Fasten Seat Belts don’t stray that far from Magic Fly’s template.
To the uninitiated, a lot of this sounds like the sort of stuff that would accompany the test card; to others though – those who’ve been wowed by the crate-dug cosmic boogie antics of Horse Meat Disco or the wonders of Lindstrøm’s prog disco or Mogg & Naudascher – this is the Holy Grail. A genuine bit of wonder that has long been out of print, it’s time for Space to finally be recognised as the geniuses they were.