Sunday, July 15, 2018

Things'll never be the same

According to the Quietus' Brian Coney, Pete Kember's "curveballing imprint on modern experimental and electronic music is nonpareil and largely stems from collaborative interactions". That claim is substantiated with a run-through some of Kember's most significant releases, with the man himself as guide - from Spacemen 3 (widely misunderstood) and solo releases as Sonic Boom and Spectrum to collaborations with Silver Apples, MGMT, Panda Bear and Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Of the latter, Kember is effusive in his praise: "To this day, I still listen to her work and am still floored by her genius. I believe the Doctor Who theme is possibly the most important electronic piece of its era and to that time. Stockhausen and Boulez and all those dudes were pivotal, no question, but Delia took their lead and placed it in a cultural context, courtesy of the BBC, that affected millions and millions in a really transportive way."

Kember is not the first musician to be astounded by her talents, either: "Delia told me that three people sought her out at the BBC to discover who the hell was sending those amazing sounds through the airwaves: Syd Barrett, Paul McCartney and Brian Jones. I think that gives a hint as to what an impact she was making culturally - which resonated right through electronic music via White Noise, the Silver Apples, Kraftwerk and Aphex Twin."

While many of his collaborations have evidently been happy and mutually enriching, Kember is quite unequivocal in describing Spacemen 3 as "dysfunctional". With no signs of any attempt at reconciliation, the prospects of a reunion look slim - all the more so because the very same day that the Quietus piece was published, 9th July, his former bandmate Jason Pierce was quoted as dismissing the possibility: "I just don't see the point. I find it really difficult as to why. It's a weird one, because I'm not wild about anything that's, like, people just replaying their [old music]." Don't hold your breath, then.

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