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Lost In Space, Vol. 1 (1993-2002)

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Album Review

Though Laika doesn't seem the best of candidates for a greatest hits, the band celebrates its tenth anniversary with a stylish two-disc collection that offers most to fans of the band (as well as fans of clever design). Separated into hits and rarities discs, Lost in Space, Vol. 1 (1992-2002) spends about an hour with an intensive Laika history lesson (three songs originally on each full-length, plus one only available on a Volume compilation), then moves onto a collection of live songs, Peel Sessions, a few remixes, and one new song. The compilation portion is well-selected, balancing band favorites ("Sugar Daddy," "Shut Off/Curl Up") with popular successes ("Uneasy" and "Breather," a pair of busily percussive tracks with a moody arrangement and understated vocals). The rarities are no less intriguing, hardly a surprise from a band with such a firm grasp on the reins of quality control. The group's cover of Wire's "German Shepherds" is a highlight, along with the B-side "Lie Low" and a Jack Dangers remix of "Looking for the Jackalope." Though Laika LPs are far too compulsory to make this a first purchase, one attribute that might push it over into the essential category for on-the-fence fans: clever notes from Margaret Fiedler and Guy Fixsen regarding each song. For instance, here's a factoid: Fiedler owns the record for most appearances by a female on a John Peel session — as a member of Moonshake and Laika, plus her guest spots on sessions by PJ Harvey and God Is My Co-Pilot.


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 Fixsen as...
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Lost In Space, Vol. 1 (1993-2002), Laika
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