Friday, November 03, 2006

Stereolab - Refried Ectoplasm ( Duophonic 1995 )

Stereolab are an English-based band whose style, mixing 1950s-1960s pop and lounge music with the "motorik" beat of krautrock, was one of the first to which the term "post-rock" was applied. They are noted for the use of vintage keyboard instruments like Moog synths and Vox and Farfisa organs. Stereolab are also notable for founding their own record label, Duophonic records, with a grant from UK charity The Prince's Trust. The band are often referred to as "The Groop" by their fans (and in the title of their song "The Groop Play Chord X" on the album Space Age Batchelor Pad Music).
They were founded in 1990 by songwriters Tim Gane (guitar, keyboards), formerly of the band Mc Carthy, and Laetitia Sadier (sometimes credited as Seaya Sadier; vocals, keyboards, trombone, guitar), who is from France and sings in both English and French.
Combining an inclination for melodic '60s pop with an art rock aesthetic borrowed from Krautrock bands like Faust and Neu!, Stereolab were one of the most influential alternative bands of the '90s. Led by Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier, Stereolab either legitimized forms of music that were on the fringe of rock, or brought attention to strands of pop music — bossa nova, lounge-pop, movie soundtracks — that were traditionally banished from the rock lineage. The group's trademark sound — a droning, hypnotic rhythm track overlaid with melodic, mesmerizing singsong vocals, often sung in French and often promoting revolutionary, Marxist politics — was deceptively simple, providing the basis for a wide array of stylistic experiments over the course of their prolific career. Throughout it all, Stereolab relied heavily on forgotten methods of recording, whether it was analog synthesizers and electronics or a fondness for hi-fi test records, without ever sinking to the level of kitsch.

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