Spaceheads were a duo formed in Manchester by a veteran trumpeter,
who debuted as the bassist of the Diagram Brothers on
Some Marvels of Modern Society (1981 - LTM, 2007) and then switched to the trumpet
for Dislocation Dance's jazzier Music Music Music (1981) and their
poppier Midnight Shift (1983),
master percussionist Richard Harrison, who had debuted under the moniker
Dick Mudd in the Mud Hutters of Factory Farming (1981).
Diagram and Harrison had already featured together in the Honkies,
a jazz-funk-rock outfit formed in 1987
(with Los Angeles-born baritone saxophonist Caroline Kraabel and tenor saxophonist Kathy Hulme)
influenced by the Pop Group that had released
the cassette Honkattack (1989), the single How Do We Prevent The Advance of the Desert? (1990) and the LPs All My Screws Fell Out (1992) and Who Eats? (1994).
The Spaceheads were born as an electronically-enhanced trumpet-drums
improvising duo (perhaps influenced
by Don Cherry's and Ed Blackwell's albums of the 1960s).
Their beginnings, starting with the cover of
Pay Me My Money Down (Big Biz Niz, 1990),
were compiled on a 1990 cassette that was partially reissued as
Ho Fat Wallet (Dark Beloved Cloud, 1998).
Spaceheads (Dark Beloved Cloud, 1995) wed the "do-it-yourself" spirit of independent musicians, the collage techniques of the avantgarde, jazz improvisation and the angular rhythms of post-techno dance music (a mixture of hip hop, drum'n'bass and acid jazz).
Diagram had a way of working with loops and overdubs to generate ambitious
sound textures that highlighted the eccentricities of the duo's instruments:
a prepared trumpet that recalls the exotic and otherworldly timbres of
Don Cherry and Jon Hassell, and a thunderous, tribal feast of percussions.
The album is basically two albums in one: an experiment in digital
soundsculpting (Evacuate the Planet, Open My Box) and
a collection of dancefloor novelties
(Bones, Whatever Happened to Billy the Comedian).
The EP Round The Outside (DBC, 1996) documents a tour in the United
States. The live settings enhanced their passion for free jazz.
Angel Station (Pandemonium, 1999) and
Low Pressure (Bip Hop, 2002)
veered towards a more danceable
sound, a bastard child of techno and funk.
Diagram also played with A Certain Ratio in the late 1980s and
backed David Thomas in the mid 1990s.
Time of the Ancient Astronaut (2001) and
A Very Long Way From Anywhere Else (2007)
were ambient-like collaborations with soundsculptor Max Eastley (playing a home-made
They signaled a major shift in Spaceheads' mission, from dance-pop to
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