Sunday, July 15, 2012

Laika - German Shepherds

This is the very first Laika song I ever heard, Laika being both a famous dog and a less famous band. The band, Margaret Fiedler and Guy Fixsen, put out a bunch of amazing albums in the late nineties, one of which, Sounds of the Satellites (1997) was top-to-bottom a great example of electronic pop done well. All about the 3 AM post-party vibe, they were. This particular song that I'm posting was included in a 21-song compilation album titled Whore: Various Artists Play Wire (1996) which featured various artists covering songs originally made by the British band Wire.

Today, suddenly, I got an itch to listen to this song, which is as perfect one can get in terms of deconstructing an original song. "German Shepherds" itself was first featured on Wire's IBTBA (1989) and then radically deconstructed during a John Peel session in the late '80s. The radio session version saw official release, many years later, on Coatings (1997). It is the latter version that Laika de/re/construct into electronic bliss.

What does it sound like? A bit of nineties trip hop, a bit of silky mood, a bit of electronic gloss, a few changes in lyrics, and here we are....

Oh by the way, that compilation called Whore? It is one of the best "tribute" albums ever made. You don't have to be familiar with any of the originals because the ethos of innovation on the album is so persistent and at a high level. Instead of cranking out note-for-note covers, all these bands try to emulate the spirit of Wire, instead of Wire itself. Good stuff. There are a couple of duds, but overall, it's a superb album, AND includes one of the few post-Loveless My Bloody Valentine tracks released, the fantastic "Map Ref 41°N 93°W."

Laika - German Shepherds [mp3] (via 39-40)

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