For some listeners, it will be hard to reconcile the bleary, shifting guitar/feedback dynamics of “Space (1999)” with the brutal, driving beat and industrial vocals of “Chemicals.” Yes, it’s still the same album and the same artist. That’s just how Dave Pearce, aka Flying Saucer Attack, works.
Normal listening strategies don’t quite work with FSA. You can’t focus your attention on the shapeless morass of sound oozing from your speakers, directing your concentration at the music like a tightly-focused beam. You’ve got to abandon yourself to the sound, allowing the music to permeate gradually, like water soaking into a sponge.
Not long ago, Pearce hinted at FSA’s imminent extinction due to “lack of ideas.” Clearly he’s had some fresh ones. “Wintersong” is particularly strong, pairing a driving, organic drum’n'bass rhythm (think Psychick Warriors ov Gaia, if you can recall them) with slabs of post-My-Bloody-Valentine noise and imbuing the resultant clamour with grim and bloody determination. “Rover,” the very next track, is pure psychedelic pop, albeit pop turned brittle and wobbly by production trickery, while “Dust” goes folky over a persistent drum loop.
If you aren’t already a FSA fan, or at least a fan of expansive, tribal, techno-influenced psychedelia, Mirror stands very little chance of converting you. As a listening experience, it’s initially cold, downbeat and distant, but will eventually seem beautiful, austere and stoic. If the sounds are new to you, you may find them too off-putting to justify repeated spins. Headphones will help you get the best perspective on this immersive listening experience. And if Mirror seems poppy to you, it’s time to lay off the Terence McKenna books.
// Notes from the Road
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