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Sounds of the Satellites

Laika

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Album Review

During the two years that passed between the release of Silver Apples of the Moon and its follow-up, Sounds of the Satellites, the dub, trip-hop and drum'n'bass sounds which made Laika so distinctive and original the first time out became commonplace; never given their proper due as pioneers of electronica anyway, their prospects for creating music of similar depth and invention appeared to grow dimmer and dimmer as time went on. Miraculously, Sounds of the Satellites is even better than its predecessor, a simultaneous expansion of the band's sonic palette and a brilliant refinement of their past innovations. The pivotal difference between Laika and other similarly inclined artists is their unparalleled sense of atmosphere: far removed from the pummeling insistence of groups like Prodigy or the Chemical Brothers, Laika also avoids the cinematic film-noir ambience of Portishead in favor of a subdued, dreamlike labyrinth of sound — the album is, by turns, claustrophobic ("Breather"), sexy ("Almost Sleeping") and menacing ("Shut Off/Curl Up"). Rarely is electronic music so suggestive, so fluid, or so human; Sounds of the Satellites exists in its own orbit, so far ahead of its contemporaries as to be off of the map.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s

Like their namesake — the dog rocketed into orbit by the Soviets renowned as the first living creature to exit the earth's atmosphere — Laika traveled the spaceways, forging a distinct and wildly experimental fusion of hip-hop, jazz, electronica, dub, and Krautrock without earthly precedent. Somewhat of a Too Pure label all-star team comprised of former Moonshake vocalist/programmer Margaret Fiedler and bassist John Frenett, onetime PJ Harvey drummer Rob Ellis, and noted producer Guy...
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Sounds of the Satellites, Laika
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