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Laika


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Experimental, beautiful & fierce ectronica with evocative/eclectic influences

Status:

Most recent release, Everywhere I am I am What is Missing (2003)

See also:

Laika's official website

Wikipedia's entry for Laika

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Moonshake, a band Margaret Fiedler & Guy Fixsen used to be in.

Comparisons:

Cross Portishead with Bushtucker, and have Tricky produce. On amphetamines. (lissener@wwa.com)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

They are wonderful aren't they—an intriguing mix of sampling, tribal rhythms and whispery vocals. I'm surprised that eMpTVy hasn't picked up on them, but then I guess their music is too difficult for middle america. (jmgurley@drizzle.com)

Anyway, great electronica. Lovely voices and songcrafting—emotive, but abstract as far as the subjects of their lyrics go. Not to be confused with the surf rockers, Laika and the Cosmonauts. Clever, listenable, intriguing sounds and singing. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

I've only seen them once live, back in 1995, right around the time of Silver Apples of the Moon. They were able to translate their sound well, but weren't very dynamic. They were just beginning to feel their way around the stage, it seems. They relied somewhat on their sampled sounds, which sometimes did and sometimes did not work on stage. (jmgurley@drizzle.com)

Recommended first album:

Good Looking Blues is my favourite so far

Recordings:


antenna ep

Release info:

1994—Too Pure, P.O. Box 1944, London NW10 SPJ— Pure CD 38

Availability:

U.K. and stores in the U.S. that carry indie imports

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for ectronica fans

Group members:

Margaret Fiedler & Guy Fixsen—samples, guitar, moog, voice, marimbas
John Frenett—bass
Lou Ciccotelli—drums, percussion
Louise Elliott—flute, sax

Comments:

This serves as an excellent introduction to the lovely, experimental, haunting, urgent sounds of Laika. (Neile)

Silver Apples of the Moon

Release info:

1994—Too Pure, P.O. Box 1944, London NW10 SPJ— Pure CD 42

Availability:

Wide in U.S. and U.K.

Ecto priority:

Essential for electronica fans

Group members:

Margaret Fiedler & Guy Fixsen—samples, guitar, moog, voice, marimbas, vices, melodica
John Frenett—bass
Lou Ciccotelli—drums, percussion
Louise Elliott—flute, sax

Comments:

I just went back and played their first one, Silver Apples of the Moon, and was once again stunned. I think I still like that one more than sounds of the satellites, but not by much. (lissener@wwa.com)

Truly a brilliant disc. A sound that is just now truly mainstream, and they were doing it in 1994. Listen. (Neile)


sounds of the satellites

Release info:

1997—Too Pure, P.O. Box 1944, London NW10 SPJ— Pure CD 62; Warner (U.S.)

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Essential for electronica fans

Group members:

Margaret Fiedler and Guy Fixsen—samples, guitar, vocals, bass, minimoog, dolphin drum, trumpet
Louise Elliott—flute
Lou Ciccotelli—percussion
Rob Ellis—drums, prepared piano, percussion, backing vocals
Alonso Mendoza—vibraphone

Comments:

What was it about electronic music this year, anyway? Somehow it just seems to have found its feet for me. Anyway, I've always liked Laika's music, but this album is a delight. Full of strange and catchy songs and lines, it's the find of music you find yourself humming and trying to remember where it's from. Hey, and there's even a song called "Spooky Rhodes". Have they been listening to Happy? (Neile)

Ditto most of the above (this album was in my top ten too). (lissener@wwa.com)


almost sleeping ep

Release info:

1997—Too Pure, P.O. Box 1944, London NW10 SPJ— Pure CD 71

Availability:

Wide on release; may be harder to find now

Ecto priority:

Essential for Laika fans

Group members:

Margaret Fiedler and Guy Fixsen—samples, guitar, vocals, bass, minimoog, dolphin drum, trumpet
Louise Elliott—flute
Lou Ciccotelli—percussion
Rob Ellis—drums, prepared piano, percussion, backing vocals
Alonso Mendoza—vibraphone

Guest artists:

Maxwell House—remix
Cabbage Boy—remix
Luke Vibert—remix

Comments:

I adore this little four-song ep! The remixes are delightful (this from someone who usually couldn't care less about remixes), and these are the best songs from sounds of the satellites. Highly recommended. (Neile)

Good Looking Blues

Release info:

2000—Too Pure—Pure 89CD

Availability:

Wide in the U.K. and U.S.

Ecto priority:

Essential for ectronica fans

Group members:

Margaret Murphy Fiedler—vocals, samples, guitar, Rhodes, found sounds, clavinet
Guy Fixsen—Rhodes, Minimoog, guitar, background vocal, samples, clavinet, prophet, dolphin drum, triangle

Guest artists:

John Frenett—bass guitar
Lou Ciccorelli—drum kits, conga, djembe, sogo
Pete Whyman—bass clarinet, clarinet
Danny Doyle—turntables
Matt Garge—trumpet
Louise Elliott—flute
Rob Ellis—tambourine, prepared piano, backing vocals, sleigh bells, Chinese healthy balls, distorted drum kit

Produced by:

Fiedler/Fixsen

Comments:

A new Laika disc! Very much in the same vein as their earlier discs, which is delightful to me. I could listen to their intriguing mix of whispery, almost-spoken vocals, electronics and traditional instruments forever. Well, at least one wonderful disc longer now. One of my favourite albums of the year. It's really wonderful. (Neile)

Lost in Space volume one (1993-2002)

Release info:

2003—Too Pure—pure 110 cd

Availability:

Wide in the U.S. and U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Laika fans

Group members:

Margaret Fiedler and Guy Fixsen with John Frenett and Lou Ciccotelli

Produced by:

Guy Fixsen & Margaret Fiedler

Comments:

This is a two-disc set of Laika favorites, Peel sessions, re-mixes, rarities, and a new unreleased track. Disc 1 flows like an album in and of itself, and while disc 2 doesn't quite have that feel, it's full of good music great versions of tracks. Overall the whole thing is much more playable than usual compilations of this nature. Recommended for all, and essential for Laika fans. (Neile)

Everywhere I am I am What is Missing

Release info:

2003—Too Pure—pure 141cd

Availability:

Wide in the U.S. and U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Margaret Fiedler
Guy Fixsen
Lou Ciccotelli—drums

Produced by:

Guy Fixsen & Margaret Fiedler

Comments:

This is a lovely, mellow-beat Laika disc, my favourite tracks being "Dirty Bird" and "Alphabet Soup". While it doesn't beat Good Looking Blues as my favourite of their albums, I still like it a lot. If you like somewhat laid-back (though still with a beat) electronica, give it a chance. (Neile)

Further info:

Email Laika

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Evocative/Eclectic

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