Late Night Venture – Pioneers of Spaceflight

Insomnia: general sleeplessness, inability of sleep (Oxford Dictionary) – and, I’d like to add, the least healthy source of writing time. I owe you an apology, this busy week ended up with me struggling between sickness, life changes and general business – plus, the already mentioned lack of sleep. Anyway, here we are,writing about Pioneers of Spaceflight, one album to listen to during a silent night (morning?), when the wind is the only one whispering in my ears.

Despite the overall technique-style differences, Pioneers of Spaceflight I’d still like to address to as Pink Floyd gone me(n)tal. Late Night Venture come back after the 2006 debut, masterfully mix post rock and spacey doomy tunes, with a quick stop into the contemplative Buckley-esque field. Whether you call it spacey or cosmic, this 10-tracks took six years to be polished: isolation, hope and celestial beauty packed with the least-cliché post-rock influences. These features are the key ones of some best new post-rock bands, such as Explosions in the Sky or, my favourite at the moment, Maybeshewill. 

The heterogeneity within the album is quite impressive: from wall-of-sound (Kaleidoscopes) to doomy bass-driven vibe (The Empty Forest), by way of the ambient reverber-y interludes (Ready No, Birmingham, Trust). This Norvegian piece boosts the spacey atmosphere with distorted riffs (Peripherical)  and epic backing vocals (Houses), just before the gran finale of Carisma – a seven minute psychedelic epilog. The introduction of vocals creates a stimulating proggy hybrid, infused with lunar shades and a transcendent aura (Hours).

It may be the exceptional clear sky of this early morning, it may be the influence of the book currently on the bedside table (the complete Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy), but Late Night Venture’s ship seems to be sailed from the earth to lead us in a personal tour of the universe. It took 6 years, but I’d say it was really worth the wait.

Cover Album
Pioneers of Spaceflight
Similar Artist: Maybeshewill, Sycamore Age
Rating:

Tracklist

01. Kaleidoscopes
02. Peripherals
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3. Houses
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4. Birmingham
05. The Empty Forest
06. Hours
07. Ready No
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8. Trust
09. Glitter Pony
10. Carisma

Maybeshewill+Neoritmo+Gallops @ The Exchange (Bristol)

As a music journalist, I have one of the worst misfortunes ever: my short-term memory is appalling, therefore my music agenda and smart-phone are two essential fellow travelers, despite ending up filled with bilingual notes and barely legible handwriting. After the Maybeshewill set my gig-mates and I tried to piece together the whole experience, setlist included, so this is my brief yet intense first encounter with the band from Leicester.
Our journey started with my first gig at the Exchange, quite an interesting and cosy venue in Bristol, 15 mins from the station, quite easy to miss if you do not pay enough attention to the signs. The main room is quite intimate, so by the time the first act was on stage, there was a small but highly involved audience to enjoy the local group Neoritmo. Despite being less “in line” with the main act’s sound than Gallops, this four-piece really grabbed my attention. Clean vocals, heavy funk-y bass line (Rage against the Machine’s funk) and guitar virtuosity were the main features. However, the sound swung from RHCP’s early funk rock (BSSM) to 70s hard rock, mostly thanks to the guitars – especially the lead guitarist, whose solos were just, wow: I must tip my hat to him. On the other hand, Gallops got the grip with mathy-synth rock, more “Bristolian” in its dub-d&B infused tunes: kind of like Pendulum, yet more poppish. The drums themselves experimented with both jazz and tribal, guitars got electric-vibe adding some spice to the formula.

Maybeshewill got on stage like a squadron, standing with guitars/bass guitar in front of us, ready to explode. In that exact moment I realised the punch of their music, which is hard-hitting and captivating, at least as twice as on CD. Beautiful songs like To the Skies from a Hillside embraced even more power during the musical climax: you know it is coming, but you’d not expect it to be so unpredictable. The contrast between drone-driven, intangible interludes and heavier stormier post-rock jams is inescapable (Critical Distance). On the plus side, those guys on stage are highly passionate, scarily energetic and, by the end of the set, impressively sweaty – which means, they bounced a lot like crazy, despite the little space on stage. The band mixed some new tunes from the latter I was here a moment, then I was gone (such as the opening Take this to heart) and evergreen tracks, slightly heavier and enriched with film samples (like a famous quote from The Verdict in the track Co-conspirators) and the well-known The Paris Hilton Sex Tape. As a final gift to us, the band came back on stage for a long version of the stunning He Films the Clouds pt.II, which I heard there for the first time.
After the show, waiting for my bus, you could see me writing like crazy, filled with beauty and excitement, thankful for such an emotional shake, reminded once again that music may hit you, but it never harms you.