The future of Stereolab

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I just listened to Stereolab's Sound Dust and something must have finally clicked after 2 years, as it sounded luvly. There's a new EP coming out apparently:

Mastering of the new EP is complete. On October 7th 2003 Elektra will issue a 5 track CD EP and on October 13th 2003 Duophonic UHF Disks will issue a 5 track CD and a 7" vinyl edition - probably three 7" disks.

They have been one of the shining lights of pop for a decade now, but does the world actually need another Stereolab record? Is there anywhere left to go after the last few meticulously crafted records? Am I alone in entertaining the thought that maybe, just maybe, Mary's passing might have coincided with the end of the 'labs's golden era? Might they be better off focusing on those myriad side-projects, and closing the door on the 'lab's fine body of work? Or am I just insane? Tell us how much you look forward to a new Stereolab record...

Nag! Nag! Nag! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Monday, 4 August 2003 04:59 (nineteen years ago) link

i had assumed they'd finished, after that most recent Monade album was released. short of dropping the guitar OR keyboards entirely, i don't know where else they could go. personally i'd rather they didn't make another record as Stereolab.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Monday, 4 August 2003 05:03 (nineteen years ago) link

each record has had its moments, but the last time i was excited about anything they did was Aluminium Tunes.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Monday, 4 August 2003 05:04 (nineteen years ago) link

I loved Sound Dust, and will place it among their best work. I'm certainly willing to hear more 'lab, and will surely buy new material.

derrick (derrick), Monday, 4 August 2003 05:21 (nineteen years ago) link

How is that Monade record btw?

Nag! Nag! Nag! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Monday, 4 August 2003 05:27 (nineteen years ago) link

low key. I like it.

nnnh oh oh nnnh nnnh oh (James Blount), Monday, 4 August 2003 05:31 (nineteen years ago) link

They should make the planet-conquering "Sugar Sugar"-y universal pop genius record that they were saying they COULD make back in 1995 and then split in a blaze of glory. They've ploughed increasingly dull furrow for well over a decade now without actually becoming properly shite but I'd rather they did something fantastic and unexpected before they split, instead of just disintegrating into nothingness.

Alex in Rotherham (Alex in Doncaster), Monday, 4 August 2003 08:03 (nineteen years ago) link

They're a great singles band but their albums have been boring for years. More fizzy ribena pop a la wow and flutter please!

flowersdie (flowersdie), Monday, 4 August 2003 11:18 (nineteen years ago) link

"fizzy ribena pop" is an ace description but they can go even more uber-pop than Wow & Flutter when they want and it's about time they DID. They should make their Tubthumping (and attendant album) and then call it a day.

Alex in Rotherham (Alex in Doncaster), Monday, 4 August 2003 11:22 (nineteen years ago) link

They should make the planet-conquering "Sugar Sugar"-y universal pop genius record that they were saying they COULD make back in 1995 and then split in a blaze of glory

This seems to be a popular view of Stereolab and not one I subscribe to at all. Their scamper away from the indie disco dancefloor down ever-narrowing corridors of fussy detail and texture mirrors my own shift in tastes, and as a result I've loved most of their records (especially Sound-Dust and the last quarter of everyone's favourite one to knock, ...Milky Night).

That said, an end to Stereolab now, after Mary's tragic death, would seem appropriate, but there are unpleasantly humdrum things like brand identity and paying the mortgage to think about.

Michael Jones (MichaelJ), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:19 (nineteen years ago) link

I always wondered how much they actually sold, in the UK they went through a period of having top 30 albums and seemingly doing very respectably. Dot & Loops got to number 19 in 1997 and then unexpectedly everything since has missed the top 75 completely and I was VERY WORRIED for a while about their mortgage-paying capabilities after this, but I got over it. I don't imagine their audience changes dramatically from record to record but either there was a huge drop in sales around 1998 or the charts became a less-Stereolab friendly place, or both.

Alex in Rotherham (Alex in Doncaster), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:30 (nineteen years ago) link

i've only bought one of their albums and two of their singles since "Dots..."

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:33 (nineteen years ago) link

(and have everything prior)

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:34 (nineteen years ago) link

I barely bought anything after Dots & Loops and have now sold that although I kept Aluminum Tunes because it is more fun (I realise that Proper People do not buy Stereolab records because they are 'fun')

Alex in Rotherham (Alex in Doncaster), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:38 (nineteen years ago) link

AT is probably their most fun record. singles is where they have always shone.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:39 (nineteen years ago) link

Emperor is my fave, but recently I've rediscovered Dots and Loops and have been playing it to death. I heart the Lab and am really looking forward to their newie.

j0e (j0e), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:41 (nineteen years ago) link

that Proper People do not buy Stereolab records because they are 'fun'

On the contrary, they aren't fun enough

Dadaismus (Dada), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:42 (nineteen years ago) link

The only Stereolab that I own and *don't* really love is Dots & Loops. That said, I've never really understood the hate towards their recent stuff -- wasn't it obvious this is where they were headed the whole time? Anyway, Sound Dust, for example, is great -- if they keep making records, I hope they'll build on the escapist prog-lounge of that.

dleone (dleone), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:43 (nineteen years ago) link

On the contrary, they aren't fun enough

Agreed, this is why I sold Dots & Loops which gradually revealed itself to be not much fun at all.

Alex in Rotherham (Alex in Doncaster), Monday, 4 August 2003 12:47 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm looking forward to new material. Sound-Dust sounded too predictable, like they were treading water, and I'm at least curious to see if they can get out of that rut. As much as Mary's death was very sad, I'm hoping it's encouraged them to look in new directions in her absence.

jaymc (jaymc), Monday, 4 August 2003 14:22 (nineteen years ago) link

I was hoping Mary's death would lead them to make the radical change they're going to need to make for me to really love them again -- my dream-scenario would have had them changing their name as well as their style. I'm sure Sound-Dust is a fine record, but it's slight switch-ups -- e.g., ooh, lap steel! -- weren't enough to make me want to listen to it very often; I'd like it if Tim could get back in touch with guitar noise, to drop the swing and reconnect with the big fuzzy charge they haven't done in ages. Either that or go dancey for us.

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 4 August 2003 14:43 (nineteen years ago) link

For me the drop-off w/ Stereolab isn't about changes in style or arrangment, it's that the melodies just got less interesting. Somehow the tunes ain't what they used to be, & I think this started changing around Dots & Loops (an album I like a lot, I also dig Cobra & Phases). Listen to the recent stuff for a while & then put on material from the 2nd Switched On/Lo-Fi era, & it doesn't sound like the same songwriters. The tunes on the mid-'90s releases are just incredible.

Mark (MarkR), Monday, 4 August 2003 14:48 (nineteen years ago) link

Either that or go dancey for us

This could be cool. I remember an Autechre remix (of a song I can't recall) that was completely out of the ordinary for them, and very good. Maybe they should hook up with Matmos or something.

dleone (dleone), Monday, 4 August 2003 14:57 (nineteen years ago) link

There is an Ae remix on the "Miss Modular" single, although it's more LP5-era fuckery than dancey. Interesting nonetheless.

Mark (MarkR), Monday, 4 August 2003 15:05 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, it wasn't dancey at all, but definitely showed possiblities for them in more electronic realms. I guess the MoM tracks on Dots are also good signifiers.

dleone (dleone), Monday, 4 August 2003 15:48 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, it wasn't dancey at all, but definitely showed possiblities for them in more electronic realms. I guess the MoM tracks on Dots are also good signifiers.

Yeah that could have gone further...although like I said I don't think the D&L melodies are quite up to snuff.

Mark (MarkR), Monday, 4 August 2003 15:53 (nineteen years ago) link

Sound-Dust is great. One of the prettiest, most sparkly albums I've ever heard. While not all of it is pure genius, I'm excited about any new Stereolab because they will always do at least one or two things that just make you go "What the fuck?!"

Johnny Badlees (crispssssss), Monday, 4 August 2003 16:56 (nineteen years ago) link

[mccarthy spin off bands c/d]

kieron, Monday, 4 August 2003 20:40 (nineteen years ago) link

I'd pretty much written off post-Dots And Loops Stereolab as they seemed to have transmogrified themselves into a Os Mutantes cover band. However, I did really like the same songs as re-recorded on ABC Music, so I figured that it's less of a problem with them, than in how they're recording their albums.

Chris Barrus (Chris Barrus), Monday, 4 August 2003 23:34 (nineteen years ago) link

the only non-worthwhile record is peng!, sound dust is a gorgeous and rather simple sounding pop record. i think they are a highly undervalued band, perhaps from making the music seem effortless?

keith (keithmcl), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 00:26 (nineteen years ago) link

the only non-worthwhile record is peng!

Madness! There are some flaccid moments sure, but "Super Falling Star", "Mellotron", "Orgiastic", etc... I ask you?

Am I still the only person who actually thinks Emperor Tomato Ketchup has been the least durable record so far?

Nag! Nag! Nag! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 05:49 (nineteen years ago) link

er, yeah you probably are.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 05:51 (nineteen years ago) link

Thought so.

Nag! Nag! Nag! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 06:10 (nineteen years ago) link

Ever since D&T, I've been hopelessly waiting for the guitar buzz to come back.. I think what made them great was how hypnotic that drone sounded, coupled with the mantra-chanting. When they got rid of that and went lounge the music sounded too 'focused' in a way and didn't allow you to lose yourself in it, as the old stuff did.

Fabrice (Fabfunk), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 06:48 (nineteen years ago) link

They need to stop making records with McEntire and O'Rourke, for a start/change. Maybe get Albini involved, or someone totally out of left field.

Raymond Cummings (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 14:04 (nineteen years ago) link

I believe the new record is being recorded with Fulton Dingley, who worked on Cobra and Phases Group and First of the Microbe Hunters.

jaymc (jaymc), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 14:14 (nineteen years ago) link

It's shallow I know, but the more interviews I read with them the less I liked them. Laetitia in particular comes across as a really patronising, borderline-misanthropic left-libertarian masquerading as an 'anything-is-possible/ people-have-the-power' idealist. Well, she was an acolyte of those humourless reactionaries at Living Marxism, so perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised.

Mel Starr, Tuesday, 5 August 2003 17:17 (nineteen years ago) link

I knew a girl who was involved with Living Marxism - she ended up working at the Daily Telegraph, figures. See the Hitchens' brothers et al.

Dadaismus (Dada), Saturday, 9 August 2003 11:40 (nineteen years ago) link

i feel sorry for the whole thing -- Mary dies -- that is the worst thing that could have happened

Laetitia may be impatient with fans -- after a hiatus they produce Sound Dust which is such a good record -- so consistent (i love roughly every second song) -- having heard loops and milky i say it is their best album after tomato, perhaps the culmination of that direction in their sound

that tv program Cold Feet had a millenium special episode that reprised cul de sac perfectly, since the drift/ island/ end metaphor worked perfectly for the 'end of time' hoop-la surrounding 0/0/2000 and the possibilities of ths show drifting, out to sea or beached, which it sure ended up doing, even if they didn't think they were drifting then

i liked those promo photos of stereolab, with the power poles vertically alligned with the pictures perspective -- like harry lime as the giant (film) wheel comes to a stop over occupied vienna, a snapshot, on the road to the castle or back ? waiting for the flood ? (i don't stereolab are misanthropic, the fans tiny dots or dust, as if viewed from harry's perspective)

i like this album art, the indication of a peak, however insular, an acknowledgement by the band that they may well be too disconnected from their audience yet wishing to take the chicago computer collaborations to a decent conclusion .. i bet they knew sound dust was make or break time, if not for the group then at least for that sound, which surely they got right on this album tens times more so than on the two albums seemingly leading in that direction, validating for me those experiments along the way -- good on them for acknowledging the alienating potential, yet admitting that this was the peak of that stereolab at least

yes, i think they will go looking for other peaks, somewhere else (Lionel Stander did get to work in hollywood again, after all)

maybe the boo-boos will have to go and a new angle for the lyrics taken with both Marie's terrible departure and the band learning the hard lessons of producing something so good by their own standards even if these didn't meet the demands of their audience -- the artistic journey has been completed -- that concept in light of Marie's death is almost horribly prophetic in a spooky new way, beyond their worst dreams i imagine (is Polanski a real king midas of horror and despair ? dark forces ?) (i do not wish to trivialise _anything_ in saying this)

of course the album + art stands on it's own feet as beautiful music with a variety of sentiment -- most of the band can return to the main land and pursue some other groove -- after a presumably respectful period of meditation and change of trade-name

george gosset (gegoss), Saturday, 9 August 2003 14:09 (nineteen years ago) link

that was terrific, george

zebedee (zebedee), Monday, 11 August 2003 15:52 (nineteen years ago) link

five years pass...

"hiatus"

http://www.stereolab.co.uk/news/

Jeff W, Thursday, 2 April 2009 20:12 (thirteen years ago) link

Perhaps a necessary thing, really.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 2 April 2009 20:21 (thirteen years ago) link

diminishing returns for a while now

velko, Thursday, 2 April 2009 20:22 (thirteen years ago) link

Question: is the future of Stereolab any different than the past of Stereolab?

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 2 April 2009 20:24 (thirteen years ago) link

:( At least Chemical Chords 2 will still come out (and I'm glad I saw them this last tour)

Chris Barrus (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 2 April 2009 21:38 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah, me too! their show last fall was wonderful. still, if anyone deserves a break, it's probably them. they've never gone more than a year or two without an album over the past 20 years, have they?

tylerw, Thursday, 2 April 2009 21:40 (thirteen years ago) link

they've never gone more than a year or two without an album over the past 20 years, have they?

There were a couple multi-year gaps in between Sound-Dust, Margerine Eclipse, and Chemical Chords though I think the box set comes in there somewhere.

Chris Barrus (Elvis Telecom), Thursday, 2 April 2009 21:47 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah, maybe i'm just thinking that there are always various collections coming out in between records -- never seemed like they disappeared for any significant amount of time.

tylerw, Thursday, 2 April 2009 21:49 (thirteen years ago) link

They were great when I saw them live last year. Like, really great, as much fun as the first time I saw them. If this is one of those permananent breaks then they are going out with a bang, at least as far as live music is concerned. I don't think I have any of their albums from the last ten years, but live performance is at least as important to me.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Thursday, 2 April 2009 21:52 (thirteen years ago) link

My thoughts on seeing them in September -- if that's the last time I'll ever see them, then the last song I ever saw them do was a great version of "Jenny Ondioline."

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 2 April 2009 22:43 (thirteen years ago) link

“Mountain”! Damn.

The Triumphant Return of Bernard & Stubbs (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 17:36 (two months ago) link

all the early tracks they revived sounded so good

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 17:53 (two months ago) link

I think “Mountain” was my first favorite Groop track (Refried Ectoplasm was where my fandom started, when a friend loaned it to me).

The Triumphant Return of Bernard & Stubbs (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 17:55 (two months ago) link

Holy fuck they’re doing Refractions In the Plastic Pulse?? For those who have seen them, are they playing the whole thing or just particular section(s)?

J. Sam, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 17:58 (two months ago) link

the whole thing

they seem to have developed a new way of approaching some of these songs with a light touch then suddenly revving them up into overdrive, very interesting way of playing with dynamics

there's a good quality video of the Dallas show up on youtube

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 18:00 (two months ago) link

Yep, all the way through. Hell of a treat!

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 18:13 (two months ago) link

they seem to have developed a new way of approaching some of these songs with a light touch then suddenly revving them up into overdrive, very interesting way of playing with dynamics

along these lines, Blue Milk was the highlight of the 2019 show i saw + Andy Ramsay is the MVP

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 18:17 (two months ago) link

he's always been such a key part of their sound, and yet it seems like he's stepping it up, playing more with dynamics, throwing all kinds of sequences and triggers into the mix along with the drums, just a total champ

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 18:23 (two months ago) link

Absolutely. So long as he's there with Tim and Laetitia, it is Stereolab and I will always happily support them and see them.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 18:40 (two months ago) link

Amen!

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Tuesday, 20 September 2022 18:48 (two months ago) link

Yeah, I love the ‘overdrive’ moments. I remember even ‘Ping Pong’ went absolutely haywire live in 2019.

KevRus, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 18:55 (two months ago) link

So way upthread Gerald posted this:

Given this, there's still this out there. Most of these are alt versions of released tracks so not that crucial:
1. Super Falling Star (Moog mix) - from Volume 4 compilation
2. High Expectations (demo)
3. The Seeming And The Meaning (demo) - these 2 from the Spacewatch flexi
4. I'm Going Out Of My Way (WHFS session) - from "Inside Dave's Garage" split single
5. The Extension Trip (radio session)
6. The Eclipse
7. Jenny Ondioline (live) - Upsapalooza comp
8. Cadriopo (full version)- from Fugu split single
9. Persolator (live) - Phoenix: The Album comp
10. Endless Summer (as Microlab) - from "Microstonia - Reprovisers" compilation
11. St. Elmo's Fire (radio)
12. Less Time
13. St. Elmo's Fire (Red Corona)
14. St. Elmo's Fire (Spatio-Dynamic)
15. Impulse Rah!
16. St. Elmo's Fire (Snow) - these 6 as Uilab from "St. Elmo's Fire" collaboration with Ui
17. Miss Modular (Automator mix)
18. Contranatura (Prelude To The Autumn Of A Faun mix by Kid Loco) - these 3 from "Miss Modular Remixes" EP
19. Rainbo Conversation (Russel Simins mix) - from the "Miss Modular" US promo
20. Chinese Whispers (Stereolab mix) - from "Chinese Whispers" compilation
21. Untitled / 008 - from Thurston Moore's "Root" compilation
22. Cache Cache (Monade) - from collaboration with Brigitte Fontaine
23. Ticker Tape Of The Unconscious (Thievery Corporation remix) - from Thievery Corporation's "Abductions & Reconstructions" compilation
24. Brain Drain - from "Collaborations 2: Constant Friction" compilation
25. Négatités - from "Yeti 1" compilation
26. Alternative 1 (with Hairy Butter)
27. Alternative 2 (with Hairy Butter)
28. Alternative 3 (with Hairy Butter)
29. Mudra (V/A - Dimension Mix)
30. Valley Hi! (live) - FBI: The Live Feed comp
31. Neon Beanbag (Atlas Sound Southern Baptist remix) - Not Music JP bonus track

So I have a slew of these but not all -- here's what I'm missing:

5. The Extension Trip (radio session)
7. Jenny Ondioline (live) - Upsapalooza comp
8. Cadriopo (full version)- from Fugu split single
9. Persolator (live) - Phoenix: The Album comp
19. Rainbo Conversation (Russel Simins mix) - from the "Miss Modular" US promo
26. Alternative 1 (with Hairy Butter)
27. Alternative 2 (with Hairy Butter)
28. Alternative 3 (with Hairy Butter)
29. Mudra (V/A - Dimension Mix)
30. Valley Hi! (live) - FBI: The Live Feed comp
31. Neon Beanbag (Atlas Sound Southern Baptist remix) - Not Music JP bonus track

Gerald or anyone, any way to share these out? I'm essentially creating a 'Switched On Vol. 6' for myself and kinda interestingly it would all fit on two CDs so maybe one day... (Thinking about how Sonic Youth finally cleared out all those random B-sides and live cuts on singles from the 80s via a Bandcamp comp.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 26 September 2022 16:21 (two months ago) link

here's the Upsapalooza "Jenny Ondioline"

https://www.mediafire.com/file/x6qziqmrnuqqixm/1-01_Stereolab_-_Jenny_Ondioline.flac/file

sleeve, Monday, 26 September 2022 16:31 (two months ago) link

I know I’ve got that Miss Modular promo somewhere, I’ll see if I can rip a nice version of that track

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Monday, 26 September 2022 16:53 (two months ago) link

Absolutely. So long as he's there with Tim and Laetitia, it is Stereolab and I will always happily support them and see them.

If it's Tim, Laetitia, Andy Ramsay and your gran' on the Grodeck Whipperjenny, it's Stereolab.

henry s, Monday, 26 September 2022 17:04 (two months ago) link

Thanks Sleeve! All help appreciated!

Ned Raggett, Monday, 26 September 2022 17:11 (two months ago) link

Anyone who wants these can email me at geraldmcbb (at) hotmail (d0t) com

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 26 September 2022 18:59 (two months ago) link

Anyone want to buy two tickets for the 9:30 Club show in DC Saturday?

Lord Pickles (Boring, Maryland), Wednesday, 5 October 2022 00:47 (one month ago) link

Would like them to round out the expanded editions with a Chemical Chords/Not Music 2-disc set, mainly because I never bought them in the first place

Jaime Pressly and America (f. hazel), Wednesday, 5 October 2022 04:26 (one month ago) link

Posted this on the wrong thread ... but saw them at Roadrunner in Boston last night, which is a terrific venue. Enjoyable but the absolutely terrible sound (their live sound person's fault as the opener had great sound and a very similar lineup) made the experience a lot less pleasant than it should've been. Current band is pretty tight tho and the song selection was very good.

Defer to Gerald McBoing-Boing for his review as he was also there and much closer to the stage.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 5 October 2022 17:28 (one month ago) link

The show in Minneapolis had absolutely atrocious sound as well which I considered posting in this thread like 5 times but figured there would be no one to commiserate.

zacata, Wednesday, 5 October 2022 19:43 (one month ago) link

OK gang

what in the holy hell is going on with side 4 of the Dots and Loops 3LP reissue (tracks 8, 9, and 10 on the original CD)?

what is labeled as "Parsec"... is not, and it's 4:35 instead of 5:34 long

then the version of "Ticker-Tape Of The Unconscious" is a full minute shorter, and "Contronature" is maybe 20 seconds shorter

what the heck is going on here, and what is in place of "Parsec"? nothing about this on the Discogs page, which has had helpful breakdowns on some differences w/previous reissues

sleeve, Thursday, 6 October 2022 00:14 (one month ago) link

I'm going to have to go back and listen but they messed around with track lengths throughout the deluxe edition, mostly adding bits of new material here and there

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Thursday, 6 October 2022 01:12 (one month ago) link

yeah but it's a totally different song!! I am so confused, any insight is most appreciated

sleeve, Thursday, 6 October 2022 01:16 (one month ago) link

I bought that deluxe ed digitally from Bleep and the track listing is
1 Brakhage 5:31
2 Miss Modular 4:29
3 The Flower Called Nowhere 5:15
4 Diagonals 5:15
5 Prisoner of Mars 4:22
6 Rainbo Conversation 4:46
7 Refractions in the Plastic Pulse 17:32
8 Parsec 5:35
9 Ticker-Tape of the Unconscious 4:46
10 Contronatura 9:04
(plus 11 more tracks)
so exactly the same at the original release, more or less - the vinyl must differ?

assert (matttkkkk), Thursday, 6 October 2022 01:39 (one month ago) link

The show in Minneapolis had absolutely atrocious sound as well which I considered posting in this thread like 5 times but figured there would be no one to commiserate.


Well if someone wants to indulge a brief rant about it, here goes:

I’m used to bad sound in crummy Boston venues with low ceilings and sticky floors. This wasn’t that at all. Roadrunner is relatively new and has great sound. The opener, Fievel is Glauque, had not only sounded terrific but did so with an almost identical lineup and aesthetic – five piece band, French singer, Soft Machine-y jazz, organ/synths (they also had a sax/flute player).

We were standing right behind the lighting and sound people. And the second Stereolab went on, the sound was like 30% louder, muddy and distorted.

The music wasn’t just hard to hear – it was physically unpleasant. I could feel the snare drum hits for some songs in my body cavity (which makes no sense for songs inspired by the likes of Martin Denny). Any time the keyboardist played his electric piano sound, L’s vox became distorted and hard to hear.

I looked over at the sound person, who was different than whoever was running sound for the opener, and this person spent like the first 40 min. frantically pushing buttons and turning knobs on the mixing board, talking to other people and stress vaping. I imagine that they were unfamiliar with the digital board. But having run live sound myself many times, it’s not a normal thing to be rapidly doing anything at the mixing board. Unless there’s some sort of emergency. Eventually this person seemed to give up.

At any rate, that rant wasn’t really brief I guess but it kind of spoiled the experience for my friend and me, and we ended up splitting early. I’m sorry to hear it’s been that way for others. The group played a pretty spirited set and the lineup was tight. They deserve someone running the board who can get that across.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 6 October 2022 02:09 (one month ago) link

Sounds like something technical went way off the rails. If it's a digital board, could it be that they had levels saved from soundcheck that failed to load correctly?

Everything sounded completely normal and clear at the show I went to.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Thursday, 6 October 2022 02:40 (one month ago) link

I didn't notice any sound issues standing up front in Boston. Frankly, I was just closing my eyes and losing myself in the music. Observations:

Tim & Laetitia stood as far apart as possible. I forget if that's any different than the old days.

The bassist fellow took over Mary's backing vocals and did very well!

The drumming was OK but not as powerful as the material needed.

Favorite tracks were "UHF", "Mountain", a way too short "Jenny O" and the amazing encore surprise of "Simple Headphone Mind".

Not a great deal of stage presence, L's simple dance moves were really endearing though.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 6 October 2022 13:15 (one month ago) link

The couple of times I saw Stereolab pre-break Tim stood in the middle of the band surrounded by everyone else basically. So yeah, different from those times for sure.

grandavis, Thursday, 6 October 2022 13:54 (one month ago) link

I saw the Minneapolis show too and also found the sound unpleasant but wondered if it were somehow mixed for earplugs (which I forgot to bring; the music sounded better when I yawned, though). I appreciate hearing that it wasn’t just me.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Thursday, 6 October 2022 14:15 (one month ago) link

Huh. Sound was perfectly fine in SF and the mixer there, who I gather was the tour mixer, is an acquaintance of a musician friend, Sarah Hennies, who was thrilled to note she was doing that job. Strange!

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 6 October 2022 14:54 (one month ago) link

Yes, that's who it was in Boston. Sounds from her CV like she is super experienced musician/composer. Maybe they're dependent on whatever board the venue provides, I dunno. But hopefully they clean it up as the tour goes on. Not everyone wants to press themselves up against the stage like Gerald McBoing Boing!

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 6 October 2022 17:20 (one month ago) link

So I listened to side 4 of the dots & loops expanded edition and the first song was definitely Parsec. Don't really know about track length changes though.

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Friday, 7 October 2022 01:03 (one month ago) link

wtf

let me post what I have

sleeve, Friday, 7 October 2022 15:14 (one month ago) link

here is the first minute or so of what begins my side 4 and purports to be "Parsec"

https://soundcloud.com/sleeve-the-dj/untitled?si=69f892dfeea846be90505ebb60bc5c54

sleeve, Friday, 7 October 2022 18:11 (one month ago) link

oops that got removed, Moodles I will ILXmail you

sleeve, Friday, 7 October 2022 18:22 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

So, decided to do a little Stereolab review project...but not about Stereolab specifically:

https://theshfl.com/guide/the-stereolab-halo

Ned Raggett, Monday, 21 November 2022 16:24 (six days ago) link

awesome

dan selzer, Monday, 21 November 2022 17:44 (six days ago) link

I haven’t had a chance to really dig in, but great concept - there’s so much to mine just outside of the official Stereolab canon.

The Triumphant Return of Bernard & Stubbs (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 21 November 2022 17:47 (six days ago) link

Really is and I surprised even myself -- a ton of things I had no idea existed.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 21 November 2022 17:48 (six days ago) link

Lots of great albums on that list

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Monday, 21 November 2022 18:29 (six days ago) link

Looks great. Richard Harrison played bass with the 'lab though, not drums/percussion.

Position Position, Monday, 21 November 2022 18:33 (six days ago) link

Hm, must have misread something! Will correct.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 21 November 2022 19:06 (six days ago) link

also it seems to mention 2002 in the first para? surely that's 2022?

sleeve, Monday, 21 November 2022 19:52 (six days ago) link

i love copyediting

Maxmillion D. Boosted (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 21 November 2022 19:58 (six days ago) link

Great piece Ned, lots of stuff I hadn't known about at all. Curious to check out that Ghost Power, had no idea!

Maxmillion D. Boosted (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 21 November 2022 19:59 (six days ago) link

Wow, nice article! I have about half of those, but it has inspired me to dig deeper - thank you!!
One minor thing (this is extremely nit-picky) - I thought Laetitia's singing debut with McCarthy was earlier than *Banking...*
Just did a little Googling, and this page says the *Get a Knife Between Your Teeth* EP is from April 1990 (on which Laetitia is credited), but this page says *Banking...* came out in August 1990.

ernestp, Monday, 21 November 2022 20:11 (six days ago) link

IIRC the recent reissue boxset credit her with being on the At War EP. from 1989 and even the earlier Should the Bible Be Banned EP but it feels like an error.

Either way, by Enraged, they were starting to experiment more and showing the seeds of Stereolab.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb2ENkP7t4M

everything, Tuesday, 22 November 2022 00:07 (five days ago) link

I will keep that in mind re McCarthy -- I've kept updating poor Caleb at Shfl all my glitches today so maybe down the road! But thanks all for the corrections, and of course the kind words.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 22 November 2022 00:16 (five days ago) link


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