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Public Service Broadcasting - Live At Brixton

After missing Public Service Broadcasting twice in Glasgow, once in Edinburgh, and after opting not to go to their show at the National Space Centre, I was getting disappointed with my track record seeing this band, a band whose music I was in awe at. When their largest headline date to date was announced in London, I was in Barcelona for a few months studying, and whilst I did look up flights to attend sense eventually prevailed.

Watching and listening to Live At Brixton therefore helps to reduce my sadness whilst waiting for their return to Glasgow, although as a service announcement of my own I should probably let you know that the previous two CD/DVD live albums I enjoyed were Green Day’s Bullet In A Bible and Linkin Park’s Live In Texas, so you know what to expect from this review.

In its entirety, the seventeen-track set played that night spans the band’s career so far, drawing tracks from both albums and their original war-themed EP. Opening like the most recent album The Race For Space, Kennedy’s inspiring words fade in to the bleep of Sputnik, as a large model of that first satellite graces centre stage for the whole performance with dazzling lights. If you’ve seen the band live, you’ll know about their usual audio-visual stage arrangement and novel method of crowd interaction, so I’ll leave that for your enjoyment later, rather than spoiling the whole thing.

Next is a run of older tracks, featuring the incendiary ‘Signal 30’ and soaring ‘Night Mail’, both obvious crowd favourites as the “drop” in both kicks them into some vigorous dancing. Existing as a duo usually, the wealth of additional personnel involved in making this show the breathtaking spectacle it is is impressive. From the usual brass accompaniment to backing singers to string arrangements… all crammed onto the Brixton Academy stage for maximum musical impact.

After some shy words from one half of the band – J. Willgoose, Esq. – the crowd is introduced to the “voice of Public Service Broadcasting”, and then a triumphant end to the set begins… with five tracks left. The enthralling ‘The Other Side’ kicks things off, with the closing duo of ‘Gagarin’ and ‘Everest’ seeing the emergence of shiny jacket and some killer dance moves.

Confetti cannons bring proceedings to a close, and this show is a deserved triumph for the band whose two albums have been generously received by fans and critics alike. A euphoric night of celebration if ever there was one, immortalised forever in a live album, to be enjoy and relived by fans – and even the band if they were so inclined – time and time again. Public Service Broadcasting’s music and performances are a spectacle, and this show is no exception, with the air of celebration giving these recordings an edge over their original, record-forming counterparts.

Live at Brixton is available from iTunes and Amazon.


Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space / Remixes

  • Published in Albums

A remix album is usually met with trepidation for many apart from the ardent fan. Some see it as an obvious extension to prolong the shelf life of an album. Others see it as a natural progression, and a way to include the many directions the album could have progressed.

Thank goodness that this album is the latter. The hugely successful The Race For Space was one of the albums of last year. It has now cemented Public Service Broadcasting as a firm festival favourite, as well as expanding its ever growing audience.

This album contains twelve tracks remixed, which continue the theme of the USA and USSR’s Space Race. It takes the original stand out tracks as the brains behind Public Service Broadcasting, J. Willgoose Esq., explains:

”Even back when I was still writing this album, I was imagining the kind of remixes we could get and the artists who we'd ask. I couldn't be happier with how it's turned out; I think this is a really interesting and fresh (and in some cases mildly bonkers, a good thing in my book).”

First up is the track ‘EVA’ remixed by Vessels. This receives the standard house remix of the original track. Although not a hugely original reworking it simply illustrates what a great track this is. However, the second remix of the track by Dutch Uncles compliments the original track better. With a further use of archive recordings they create a floatier, yet beat driven track.

One of the stand out tracks on the original album was ‘Go!’. Its use of archive voices as they confirm the “Go” signal via the various system checks was a strangely funky experience. Here it receives two remixes, the first up is by Kaul, and surprisingly they both decide to use none of the original material. Yet this first track is a bouncy soulful sound which confirms that remixing in its truest form is always a valid endeavour. The second remix by Errors is again a complete reworking with a slower moodier synth based sound.

‘Korolev’ by Field Music gets a true overworking, with a more sinister sound. The track is dedicated to Sergei Korolev, the Russian space engineer. The track is driven by synth melodies with hammering short guitar riffs and the repetitive spoken word which incorporated Korolev desire to be “Higher, further, faster than anyone.”

The second treatment of this track comes from Robert Babicz. It’s a return to a more dance based sound, with rolling house beats that are interwoven with spoken archive sounds. The same treatment is dished out with ‘Sputnik’ by Peter Dundov who offers up a simple yet effective sped up house version, whilst Blond:ish take twelve minutes to deliver a slower more interesting remix which interweaves a calypso downtempo feel.

‘Gargarin’, the stand out track from the original album is remixed by Psychemagik. It once again delivers as the stand out track of this album, with a crescendo of thunderous funky space beats. Again the use of original archives enhances and drives the track. ‘Valentina’ by Smoke Fairies is a more complicated, crafted affair. They featured on the original album yet this time they have been allowed to pull out all the stops. The track moves from being a slower plodded version of the original to feature a much higher tempo with growling rolling beats that meet trance like synths.

It’s fair to say that, as with all remix albums, if you loved the original you are going to love this. If this is your first experience of Public Service Broadcasting, then it’s a very good place to start.

The Race For Space / Remixes is available from Amazon and iTunes.

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