Public Service Broadcasting: The Race for Space (Southbound)

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Public Service Broadcasting: Tomorrow
Public Service Broadcasting: The Race for Space (Southbound)

The 2013 debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain by this British duo married sometimes driving rock or evocative soundscapes with spoken word samples from old British and American documentaries and films.

The result was a thrilling mix which, with almost Futurist enthusiasm, embraced a time when progress (mail trains of the Thirties, the Spitfire), adventure (the ascent of Everest) speed and technology (colour television) were an exciting prospect.

This album – as the title suggests – narrows the focus to that period when Mankind breached the final frontier.

Opening with JFK (“we choose to go the moon . . .”), the nine pieces move through historic space exploration moments (the heart-stopping Fire in the Cockpit and The Other Side when Apollo 8 first disappeared behind the moon and was out of contact with Earth for an hour).

Given its more considered and conceptual nature, this is most often a listening experience, although Gagarin – which celebrates the cheeky looking Soviet cosmonaut – comes with a funky dance beat.

PSB play Womad shortly and – with film backdrops, live instrumentation and samples – they are an exciting prospect, even if sometimes this lacks the frisson of excitement that debut had.

So this is one small step rather than a giant leap . . . 

There is an interview with PSB about this and their previous work at Elsewhere here. For more on them -- including the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire and a DVD collection -- go here.

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