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Spaceheads and Max Eastley

Our generation was subjected to the Mudhoney/Sir Mix-A-Lot collaboration of '93, so we know it's not always a good idea for otherwise good bands to get together. However, the collaboration of Max Eastley and Spaceheads couldn't be more welcome.

Painter and sound sculptor Max Eastley got his start back in the '70s with a number of ambient releases on Brian Eno's label, Obscure Music. Since then, he has focused primarily on his paintings and sound installations, which have appeared in in countless galleries across the globe.

Spaceheads' Andy Diagram (trumpet) and Richard Harrison (drums) started playing together in 1980 after meeting at a "punk jazz" festival. They played together in a band called Dislocation Dance, recording two albums and a number of singles. Following that project they worked with The Mud Hutters and Eric Random and the Bedlamites, touring with the latter as Nico's backing band before she passed away. One afternoon in 1989, almost by accident, they decided to jam without the rest of the group and quickly realized they could best accomplish their musical vision as a two-piece. Throughout the '90s they perfected their sound -- highly percussive jams steeped in delay and digital effects. True space music.

Eastley's influence is apparent on The Time of the Ancient Astronaut, an album recorded live in one afternoon and released on BiP-HOp in 2001. Harrison's rhythms are much more restrained than usual, his furious tribal fusion drumming appearing only fleetingly throughout the record. Diagram's trumpet, as vibrant and psychedelic as ever, is perfectly balanced by Eastley's instrument, the arc, a nine-foot monochord played with a bow or rods. "Interstellar Escalator" is a fantastic representation of the album as a whole -- gorgeous and ominous ambient music that builds to an intense and noisy frenzy.

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