Thursday, 23 August 2012

Laika - 'Almost Sleeping'

Recollection Collection......musical memories recalled with affection!

Laika - 'Almost Sleeping' (1997)

I've always had a fleeting interest in astronomy ever since I was about 7 years old when my mum took me to an astronomy night (Seeing Star Wars at 4 years old also certainly helped). Seeing the majesty of the Moon and Saturn with it's rings through a telescope was awe inspiring for a little boy. On Monday, 6th of August a fascinating cosmic event almost went unnoticed in amongst the euphoric hullabaloo of the Olympics.

For once I didn't begrudge my son for getting up at his usual 05h30 calling. In a role reversal, I rushed downstairs with him in tow, fixed us a bowl of coco pops and settled down, blurry eyed, to watch what NASA had dubbed, 'the seven minutes of terror'. A one ton, Mini Cooper sized rover was about to make it's terrifying decent through the Martian atmosphere and if there were indeed any unsuspecting Martians on their way in to work that morning, they were in for a spectacular show. In an incredible feat of human ingenuity and engineering, Curiosity made a series of elaborate manoeuvres in order to break it's ridiculously rapid fall and enable it to make a equally ludicrous pinpoint landing on the surface (Gale Crater). Absolutely bonkers! It was just like a scene from in a Ridley Scott sci-fi film.  

'Seven Minutes of Terror'

As ever, I needed a tune to provide the soundtrack to my cosmic activities and this song fit the bill. As well as the first dog in space (cruel at that) and my parents' cross breed husky, Laika are a pioneering electronic band that I had a brief flirtation with in the mid 90's. The dreamy, 'Almost Sleeping', is a stand out track from their album, Sounds of the Satellites and probably one of my all time favourite tracks. 

The song reminds me of a camping trip in the Mojave desert on a visit to friends in California. It was on a tape I made for that holiday and it was playing through the car's stereo as we were all sat around the fire staring up into the heavens. It had this ethereal feel to it as I lay, in amongst the Joshua trees, complete darkness except for the very distant glow of Las Vegas in the horizon, gazing at a sky with more stars than I have ever seen. Satellites, shooting stars and, situated as it was, only a few miles from Area 51, a fair share of some weird shit too but that was probably all due to the beer.

Perfect stargazing music... 

For the Motherland??!! Pffff....Wait, you forgot to pack my Chewy Bones!!

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Laika - 'Almost Sleeping'
4/ 5


23 August 2012 at 09:19

Great, unsung, band. I have an album of theirs that I must now dig out. I bought it because they were names in honour of that fabulous, but sadly abused, dog, Laika the Russian cosmonaut. To misquote Sun Ra, space is the place - providing you don't put some poor hound through hell to get there. Big space fan too, sir.

23 August 2012 at 09:51

Forgot about them....great are on a creative roll!!!

23 August 2012 at 11:20

Laika - what a great band they were, (I assume they are no more? No new music since 2003) all their albums are worth checking out though.

I have a big interest in space travel being old enough to remember the Apollo moon-landings and the first series of Star Trek when it was originally broadcast. Never a fan of Star Wars though!

Excellent post.

23 August 2012 at 14:51

Thanks SB....good quote and agreed a sad episode in space exploration. Supposedly Krushchev and co thought it'd be ok as she was only a stray. Sad but was it necessary for human flight?

23 August 2012 at 15:02

Thanks for the comments the Swede. Crikey, not a Star Wars fan! Saying that I wasn't really Star Trek fan but I loved the JJ Abrams reboot. Seeing the Apollo landings must have been incredible. For me the milestones were the 1st Shuttle launch and seeing the Columbia piggy back on a 747, the Spirit and Opportunity rover landings too. I was so gutted with the Beagle though.

As for Laika, there's talk of some new material but yeah 2003 the last album which I will be revisiting.

23 August 2012 at 18:54

Great evocative memories you've described there, fc! - and I really like the Laika track too. Definitely need to dance lazily round the living room to that one.(First of all I somehow ended up playing that and the Seven Minutes video at the same time, it sounded like the narrative was overdubbed on the song and actually worked rather well!)