Listen to this track by 21st century art-rock purveyors, and progressive Bristolian collective Hi-Fiction Science. It’s their Krautrock meets Afrobeat meets post-punk 2011 track “Kosmonaut” as taken from their self-titled album Hi-Fiction Science, released on their own imprint Negative Drive.
The band arose “out of the ashes” of another band, Suncoil Sect, in the late 2000s. It’s comprised of Maria Charles (Vocal), Jeff Green (Bass/Keyboards/Percussion), James McKeown (Guitar/Keyboards/Percussion), Matt Rich (Keyboards/Samples), and Aidan Searle (Drums/Percusssion).
The Bristol-based band manages to fuse influences as diverse as Public Image, Ltd. with Can and Neu!, while throwing in some groove-oriented jams for good measure.
This is an art-rock approach that seeks a wider audience, gaining airplay via Stuart Maconie on BBC6 . And more recently, the band tied themselves into a continuum of progressive British music by providing a cover version of The Pretty Things’ “Private Sorrow” on the Fruits De Mer compilation album Sorrow’s Children.
“Kosmonaut” came out of a single drum pattern, growing into a groove, and with added spoken-word material added later on.On hearing it, I was interested in the amalgam of art-rock textures against what is clearly a groove-oriented approach to composition. So, I asked drummer Aidan Searle about what inspired this track. Talking it over with his bandmates, Searle said,
‘The track was initially born out of collective improvisation triggered by the afrobeat drum pattern. Inspiration from Can and Metal Box-era PIL both fed into the track’s subsequent evolution. The spoken word passages were developed at a later point to give a sense of narrative that reflected the atmosphre of the music’.
Where did that spoken-word section come from?
The initial inspiration for words came from Hunter S Thompson’s early ’70s lament in Fear and Loathing for the failure of the ’60s to fundamentally change the nature of society.
Which is all very well and good. But, Searle mentions that this tune is a band favourite in a live setting. What makes it so fun to play?
“Kosmonaut” is one of our earliest compositions and is a consistent feature of our live set – it’s great to lock in on the ‘Death Disco’ four to floor beat in the first half of the track.
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