Recurring - the last and best Spacemen 3 enigma

It's fairly unlikely you'd have made it here without ever having heard of Jason's previous incarnation. So here you go, talk away...

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Recurring - the last and best Spacemen 3 enigma

Postby Guest » Thu May 20, 2004 10:48 pm

I'm guessing that most people who post here would have seen Sonic's recent (and fascinating) discussion of the division of labour, song-writing credits etc, on the LPs that preceeded Recurring (precipitated by $26 and Runcible - great work by both there). And ever since that post, I've been absolutely dying to get some more info on Recurring, and clarify some issues that 13 years of listening and fanatacism have never quite cleared up.

After the release of 'Forged Prescriptions' (still in the old multiplay, still sounding like a work of absolute genius), I was glad to hear 'We Sell Soul' (which I knew had been recorded, but never previously heard the song) final studio versions of 'Velvets/Booker T Jam I and II' and completely new versions of WWJ, OTSH, CTD...all of these were songs I thought I'd have (most collected on the 'Out of It' demos; some on vinyl; some from what I've called 'More Forged Prescriptions') but didn't. 'Forged Prescriptions' not only tidied up the mess of the poorly produced, dull sounding official releases, and the startlingly good (but invariably hissy and low-quality) demos, but kind of immortalised that whole era - for me anyway - Spacemen 3 as a cohesive unit at their absolute best.

That's what I'm hoping will happen with 'Recurring', because I still have one hell of a lot of questions about that LP and the tracks from that era. They vary - but believe me, they're all pretty anally retentive...

1. Why weren't 'The World is Dying' and the 7-minute + 'Just to See You Smile (Honey Part II)' (Both from the 'Hypnotized' EP) included on Recurring? Surely the latter could have/should have replaced the instrumental, or even 'The orchestral mix' (as it's listed) and 'The World is Dying' would fit nicely between 'I Love You' and 'Set Me Free'.

2. Just why is the Dedicated issue of Recurring (ZD74917) so completely different to the UK (CD) issue (Fire CD23)? Amongst other things, I've always found it bizarre that 'Drive/Feel So Sad' was swapped for 'Feel So Sad (reprise)' that the full version of 'Set me Free' was missing; that 'Big City' on the LP was shorter than on the single.

Most of the tracks on the Dedicated version are edits or remixes unavailable elsewhere. Who compiled these (the tracklisting) and who did the mixing? I ask this because personally, I'm pretty sure the credits on the Dedicated issue are just a replica of the credits on the Fire version, and are incorrect.

3. Why have only Jason's demos found their way into the trading/collecting community? The demos I have (These Blues, Drive/Feel So Sad, Feelin' just Fine, Sometimes, Billy Whizz/Blue 1, Feel So Sad, Feelin' just Fine) are VERY different to the versions on both versions of 'Recurring' but it's pretty obvious that these demos were remixed and enhanced (or, in the case of 'Drive/Feel So Sad' edited down and radically remixed - the presence of the bass on this track was totally lost/mixed out of the final mix). Who made the decision to keep 'These Blues' off Recurring? And were Anjali Dutt and Sarah Beingham solely responsible for remixing Jason's 'side' of Recurring? If so, why?

4. The alterate versions of 'Feelin' just Fine'. I've spoken about this with Mark (Runcible) and he said that there were differences. Having played them simultaneously (like the Flaming Lips 'Zaireeka') I cannot, for the life of me, find any noticeable difference, aside from Track 12 (UK FIRE CD) being 3 seconds longer than the 'Alternative mix'. Am I missing something?

5. Did Pete know of, or hear, Jason's unreleased tracks (Harmony and Codeine, and one more, whose title is unknown to me, were all recorded in the studio) from all versions of Recurring? These are the Holy Grail for me, and I'm praying that they show up on the alledgedly imminent re-release of Recurring (personally, I don't think Recurring will be released again at all).

6. Oh, yeah, there's another Holy Grail - the edited and/or deliberately fucked up (it depends on who you talk to) tracks on Sonic's 'side'
- like 'Set me Free/I've got the key' (which was faded out prematurely on release apparently, it should have an absolutely massive guitar driven conclusion) and I think (stress here: I THINK) 'Big City' and 'I Love You' did not end up on the LP in the way that Sonic wanted.

7. From what I understand - apart from tracks released before Recurring (e.g. 'When Tomorrow Hits', 'Just to See you Smile (Honey Part II)' there was no Pierce/Kember collaboration AT ALL on Recurring. True?

8. Did Jason just present Sonic with his (Jason's) side of Recurring, and basically said, do what the fuck you want with it? (that would explain the remixing credits (I doubt that Jason would delegate that level of responsibility, bearing in mind his control freakery).

I think that's all. I'd love to hear from anyone who can help me clear up some of these question - most of them are questions I've had for the past thirteen years; without Recurring I wouldn't be posting here, and
lastly, it's the only Spacemen 3 release which remains an enigma.
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Postby Ian Goodchild » Fri May 21, 2004 10:48 am

That last post was by me! I am NOT a guest - I've been on this board since 1970, you know - five years before I was even born! How's that for long-term band commitment?
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Postby twentysixdollars » Fri May 21, 2004 3:29 pm

Waitaminnit: Does that mean it was Ian Goodchild issuing props to me and not just some handsome stranger? Has you lost all sense, man?

I kid. Actually I kinda thought it must have been you or perhaps Other Ian. An interesting post though. Obviously I am the question person and have no answers to this. Peter would be an invaluable resource for this.

I will wager one suggestion as to the lack of Peter demos: I don't think there are any and I think many of Peter's songs of the period were assembled in the studio. It even sounds that way on Playing With Fire. Songs like "Big City" and "I Believe It" sort of sound that way.

Sorry about my really intermittent presence. As Runcible knows at least it's been an incredibly busy, not entirely unhappy last few weeks (months?) as I prepare for a career change and also a personal change.
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Postby Ian Goodchild » Fri May 21, 2004 4:52 pm

Well, it wouldn't be the first time I've said 'Nice one, $26' Sheesh! I always give praise where praise is due. And that's three of us going through turbulent circumstances at the moment as well....

Anyway, back to 'Recurring' - I'm REALLY hoping that
Other Ian,
Will,
Jon,
Mark
Runcible
and most importantly, Pete will read this thread, and want to respond to it in some way.


Also, $26, said: I will wager one suggestion as to the lack of Peter demos: I don't think there are any and I think many of Peter's songs of the period were assembled in the studio. It even sounds that way on Playing With Fire. Songs like "Big City" and "I Believe It" sort of sound that way.

I'd both agree and disagree with this - if you take the early demos of Pete's songs on Playing with Fire (I Believe It and Repeater/How Does It Feel? being the best examples), some of which turned up on the Space Age reissue of PWF, they're almost identical to the finished songs. Compare the demos of 'Big City (Waves of Joy)', with 'Big City (Everybody I know can be Found Here)' and/or 'Why Couldn't I See?' (the alternate version) and it highlights how the songs changed in the studio. I'm guessing that Recurring had the longest studio time of any Spacemen 3 LP - probably because there were two full bands - Spectrum and Spiritualized - playing on it; several sessions musicians; multiple engineers; two studios and a huge amount of remixes (Bg City - 3 remixes and two edits; Drive/Feel So Sad - probably about 10 different mixes and three edits; I Love You (2 remixes) Head Full of Shit (2 mixes), Just to See You Smile (four distinct versions). So, yeah, all studio assembled, but with different engineers, different producers, different mixes...this just didn't happen on other Spacemen 3 LPs.
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Postby runcible » Fri May 21, 2004 8:17 pm

Just to say the difference between the 2 Feelin' Just Fine(s) is the presence of some fine fuzzy reverb on the alternate version. It's a bit subtle I guess but it's definitely there.

But what a song it is. One of the finest songs Jason made in my opinion. It is also the greatest thing I ever saw Spiritualized play live, a memory which remains potentially the greatest musical moment I can ever remember (sighs).

Great post by the way - all fascinating stuff. Too busy to respond now, demanding children causing chaos upstairs..
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Postby runcible » Wed May 26, 2004 9:26 pm

The answers. Not as detailed this time but I know Pete is busy at the mo. I think the nature of the (non) working relationship is pretty apparent in what he says here.

1. Why weren't 'The World is Dying' and the 7-minute + 'Just to See You Smile (Honey Part II)' (Both from the 'Hypnotized' EP) included on Recurring? Surely the latter could have/should have replaced the instrumental, or even 'The orchestral mix' (as it's listed) and 'The World is Dying' would fit nicely between 'I Love You' and 'Set Me Free'.

oh the possibilities........... I guess we liked to give value. our fans were loyal + we tried to reciprocate. just that.

Its like - how should Smile be sequenced - there's no right answer tho' splittin' across two sides was obviously summit worthy of Spinal Tap & part of my quitting + dissolving Spacemen 3.


2. Just why is the Dedicated issue of Recurring (ZD74917) so completely different to the UK (CD) issue (Fire CD23)? Amongst other things, I've always found it bizarre that 'Drive/Feel So Sad' was swapped for 'Feel So Sad (reprise)' that the full version of 'Set me Free' was missing; that 'Big City' on the LP was shorter than on the single.

dunno; different markets asked for different discs. When Tomm Hits had been released here already on sniffin' rock.

Set me free (reprise) is my prefered track.

vinyl lengths were a question too.

dunno about Jason's tracks - guess similar reasons

A&R men like to feel involved when writing big cheques.........


Most of the tracks on the Dedicated version are edits or remixes unavailable elsewhere. Who compiled these (the tracklisting) and who did the mixing? I ask this because personally, I'm pretty sure the credits on the Dedicated issue are just a replica of the credits on the Fire version, and are incorrect.

Anjali Dutt did Jasons stuff he did'nt do. I did all my trax + the covers.

3. Why have only Jason's demos found their way into the trading/collecting community? The demos I have (These Blues, Drive/Feel So Sad, Feelin' just Fine, Sometimes, Billy Whizz/Blue 1, Feel So Sad, Feelin' just Fine) are VERY different to the versions on both versions of 'Recurring' but it's pretty obvious that these demos were remixed and enhanced (or, in the case of 'Drive/Feel So Sad' edited down and radically remixed - the presence of the bass on this track was totally lost/mixed out of the final mix). Who made the decision to keep 'These Blues' off Recurring? And were Anjali Dutt and Sarah Beingham solely responsible for remixing Jason's 'side' of Recurring? If so, why?

ask him

4. The alterate versions of 'Feelin' just Fine'. I've spoken about this with Mark (Runcible) and he said that there were differences. Having played them simultaneously (like the Flaming Lips 'Zaireeka') I cannot, for the life of me, find any noticeable difference, aside from Track 12 (UK FIRE CD) being 3 seconds longer than the 'Alternative mix'. Am I missing something?

ditto - dunno. ask Jason. I know little about his side. truly. i was phasing myself out gently by then.


5. Did Pete know of, or hear, Jason's unreleased tracks (Harmony and Codeine, and one more, whose title is unknown to me, were all recorded in the studio) from all versions of Recurring? These are the Holy Grail for me, and I'm praying that they show up on the alledgedly imminent re-release of Recurring (personally, I don't think Recurring will be released again at all).

Codeine (a la Buffy St Marie) didn't exist. that's a Spectrum out-take from the covers lp.

Harmony - never heard of it - alt title? rough title - ditto Codeine. common practice.


6. Oh, yeah, there's another Holy Grail - the edited and/or deliberately fucked up (it depends on who you talk to)

hunh ? yeah I love to deliberately fuck up stuff before i release it . my forte perhaps ? gimme a break..........dumb question.

tracks on Sonic's 'side' - like 'Set me Free/I've got the key' (which was faded out prematurely on release apparently, it should have an absolutely massive guitar driven conclusion) and I think (stress here: I THINK) 'Big City' and 'I Love You' did not end up on the LP in the way that Sonic wanted.

none of above is true to my memory .

the long set me free fades, but doesn't get any much wilder .

I love you - is how intended - tho' the v. diff remix was removed from big city remix 12" on jason's insistance that his remix of drive had to be on for financial + 'fair' reasons. anyone knowing the I love you remix knows how sad this is. it will surface on a future comp of all single tracks from late period. It's pretty much all how it was meant to be. Perhaps wrong mixes were used - but only I would probably notice.


7. From what I understand - apart from tracks released before Recurring (e.g. 'When Tomorrow Hits', 'Just to See you Smile (Honey Part II)' there was no Pierce/Kember collaboration AT ALL on Recurring. True?

theres no collab on those tracks. but Jason plays on all my trax/side pretty much. I play on none of his -well documented before .

8. Did Jason just present Sonic with his (Jason's) side of Recurring, and basically said, do what the fuck you want with it? (that would explain the remixing credits (I doubt that Jason would delegate that level of responsibility, bearing in mind his control freakery).

no, he did that stuff w/anjali. i played no part.. I was offered to play on Jason's tracks, but my parts/pastiches were already there. Even copies of my specific vocal effects etc.

Jason might be a mild control freak, as in his i/views because he is unsure of himself & his work in my opinion -and only that .

God bless

apologies for brevity.

life goes on + all that..........

yours

pk



I sent Pete 2 emails on this, and only just got this reply. Couple of repeated subjects but I felt it worth adding everything.

1. Who actually chose the finished tracklist for the CD version of Recurring, and why were the tracks so completely different ('Big City' edited, completely different running order, one misnamed track, two reprise tracks missing) on the BMG European release of Recurring [was that solely due to Jason and the band signing with BMG?]?



I think those things -god, what was the misnamed track? were probably from memory down to Gerald.

I think I did the tracklisting for "my side" - but Gerald Palmer our manager controlled it definitively + i vaguely remember him doing what he thought he should, regardless, more + more. to be fair, It was probably in frustration. I know it was a mess at that time .


2. Did anyone notice that the 'Feelin' Just Fine' (remix) is identical to the same track earlier on in the LP?

yes - I did. Everyone'll say sour grapes, but it had in reality gotten so silly from certain parties that split sides became possible + equally, if I wrote 5 and 1/3 song.. Jason would find a way to expand his 4 songs to 5 and 1/3

If I had a reprise or split track, so did he. One of the most annoying things was that Jason would take many of my sounds, ideas & methods and use them trying to pass them off as his own. My final row where I could feel angry enough to punch at him was when he took an old lyric of mine and used it as his own. upon my demanding to know why etc., Jason told me to "prove it". I had no intention of doing any such timewasting.........


3. Why were two remixes of 'Big City' issued? Was that due to Sonic's dissatisfaction with 'Drive'?

hunh ?

no - a remix was always planned - tho' originally I love you remix was the b side, until Jason's equal opportunnity board presented the 'wonderful' Drive Remix................I faded 2 1/2 plus minutes off it at the cut. without anyone noticing............

I asked the engineer at the cut for his opinion & he said he thought it should be faded.. Normally I'd consider that desicration, but in that instance it was a blessing IMO


4. My understanding is that all the tracks were written - with the exceptions of the 'When Tomorrow Hits' (cover) 'Hypnotized' 'Just to See You Smile' 'Sometimes'/'I Love You' (given away on a flexi disk with a magazine) completely separately. Did either Sonic Boom/Spiritualized hear each other's sides prior to release?

oh yes. of course. they play on 'my' tracks. i wrote JTSYS solo.

sometimes/hypno were solo by jason in the most bleak of terms . Dont forget Will + Johnny + Richard Formby all played their parts, and Refoy to some extent, but the writing was done seperately for all the above.


5. Does Pete have access to the recording sessions for 'Recurring'?

no . I believe Gerald would have those tapes.

6. Neither Sonic nor Jason seemed happy with 'their side'. Given the choice, how would Sonic have arranged the LP?

jeesus - in many ways...............................I didn't want a split. Jason's actions were very wily + he had obviously made decisions long before he told me. i would've mixed it up more I guess. it would've been more homogenous if Jason wasn't trying to prove a point (that he could do it without me - though, anything can be copied to a level, theres a certain something that never gets properly undrerstood) Contrary to opinions of some, I was the first to know Jason was capable of great stuff if he wanted.
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Postby twentysixdollars » Sat May 29, 2004 3:28 pm

Interesting responses, but I think in general this thread is a bit less interesting to most Spacemen fans; for my part Recurring is unforgivably lax since by this point Peter's songs didn't have much appeal at all and the only ones Jason tabled for the record were rehashes of So Hot, pretty readily explained by the fact that both had solo albums on the way.

I think part of Recurring's inflated reputation is the fact that only obsessives seem to have heard it. I don't think it's aged well at all. In fact my copy went missing three or four years ago as I said elsewhere and I'm seriously considering not replacing it. The history of it seems pretty foggy as it is and I think it's best to consider it Not a Spacmen 3 Recording rather than some swan-song. (A good cognate is the CSNY-lite Byrds reunion disc - most definitely Not a Byrds Album.)
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Postby runcible » Sat May 29, 2004 10:48 pm

twentysixdollars wrote: for my part Recurring is unforgivably lax since by this point Peter's songs didn't have much appeal at all and the only ones Jason tabled for the record were rehashes of So Hot, pretty readily explained by the fact that both had solo albums on the way.

I think part of Recurring's inflated reputation is the fact that only obsessives seem to have heard it. I don't think it's aged well at all. In fact my copy went missing three or four years ago as I said elsewhere and I'm seriously considering not replacing it. The history of it seems pretty foggy as it is and I think it's best to consider it Not a Spacmen 3 Recording rather than some swan-song.


I think this is kind of nonsense actually.

Jason put some marvellous songs on 'Recurring': Sometimes' and 'Billy Whizz' are excellent, but 'Feelin' Just Fine' will always be one of his greatest Spacemen songs. Chuck in the incredible 'Hypnotized', another masterpiece.

But it's Pete's songs that are are the central pieces on Recurring; 'I Love You' and 'Set Me Free/I've Got The Key' are, as the bizarrely accurate NME said at the time, 'pure pop'. 'I Love You' is simply constructed but contains much I find irresistable in its charm and subtlety - that corny flute at the end is so filled with smiles. 'Set Me Free' is fucking amazing as far as I'm concerned - Pete's nod to Brian Wilson is apparent throughout. Play it loud and that bassy reverb is mesmeric and the bouncy bits formidable. The fantastic texture of his production is right on here too. As a bonus 'Why Couldn't I See' is fantastic - benchmark Kember drone and fuzz. Anyway, Pete's solo album, 'Spectrum', had already come out by then - LGM didn't apear for getting on for 2 years later.

What's not to like? It's not their best ever album but it's outstanding by anyone's standards. I suspect if they'd been still together when it came out it'd be regarded as one of the greats and I, for one, love it.
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Recurring

Postby spacemanrich » Sun May 30, 2004 12:50 am

I, agree w/ Runcible in that it is indeed a fine album contrary to what $26 had to say about it. Some of the best Spacemen 3 songs are on it, contributions by both. What's not to like about 'Big City' and ' When Tomorrow Hits' by Sonic ? 'When Tomorrow Hits' is wonderful under the influence w/ it's slow tempo building into a guitar climax. As well, 'Feel So Sad' and 'Hypnotized' are great, but I'd rather prefer the extended 'Feel So Sad' single
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Postby runcible » Sun May 30, 2004 11:50 am

It's worth re-reading Pete's response above as I've added a few more answers he gave to another email, again with questions from Ian G. A little more detail although some of the ground has sort of been already covered.

BTW I played Recurring last night after reading this thread again and enjoyed it immensely. And I can hear a subtle difference between the 2 versions of Feelin' Just Fine!
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Postby orange*96 0o0o0o0 » Sun May 30, 2004 3:13 pm

YAWWWNNNN!
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Postby A saint » Sun May 30, 2004 5:42 pm

I'm with Runicible on this. Quite honestly, it's my favorite Spacemen LP alongside 'Perfect Prescription.' The fact the band members were "working separately" does no more to undo my enjoyment of the record than it does of, say, The White Album. And while I've found the disc's "redundancies" in evidence (I'd wonderered about the two 'Feelin' Just Fine's myself,) they're of a piece with the spirit of the record as a whole, not to mention its title.

Recurring was one of the first CDs (as opposed to LPs) I ever purchased, and I fell in love with it set on shuffle-play. There the 'recurring' songs and melodies only made it seem the more kaleidoscopic and wonderful; and the issue of split sides was mooted.

Interesting posts--and good set of questions/answers Ian, Mark, Sonic. Thank you.
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Postby nasty » Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:04 pm

As usual you seem to have done another proud job of sounding completely full of shit $26. To my mind many of the songs that appeared on recurring were among S3's best, and I personally believe that it would have been at least as strong an S3 recording as PWF had the songs been arranged differently. I disagree that its reputation is inflated, more that it generated a lot of interest owing to the well publicised rift and general anticipation of what was to come at the time... perhaps this was received differently in the states? Further, I don't see how this has any thing to do with the fact you claim that 'only obsessives seem to have heard it', and will be interested to see how well the reissue is received following forged prescriptions. As a self-proclaimed musician I cannot for the life of me see how you consider Feel So Sad, Hypnotized, Sometimes, Feeling just Fine OR Billy Whizz to bear any resemblance whatsoever to So Hot?!!!!!! PLEASE ELABORATE and let me know what I've been missing all these years. - as far as I can remember the former is based around 1 chord and could only possibly be compared with feeling just fine on this basis, but the similarity ends there as the vibe/tempo/depth is worlds apart.

You seem to have a real flair for spouting such unsubstantiated statements, offering flaky Byrds comparisons by way of qualification, so please feel free to expand on:

1. Why this thread might not be particularly interesting, given that Jason's side comprised the majority of early spz sets?

2. How and where exactly So Hot comes into play?

3. Why it would be best not to consider this a S3 recording, given that all members appeared on the album?

4. What exactly is explained by the fact that Sonic and THE OTHER S3 MEMBERS had their own records on the way?

Given that the other thoughts stated on this thread seem to differ so much from your own, has it ever occurred that possibly you just don't get it?

Not to sound harsh, but I do take offence to the way you've quite flippantly rubbished what is one of my favourite record of all time!

Love,

Nasty
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Postby SpacemanRob » Tue Jun 01, 2004 5:37 pm

I totally agree with Nasty. Whilst most other bands saw peaks and troughs in their career i dont think SP3 made a bad album. Each day my favourite differs from PP to PWF to Recurring but each album still excites in its own way. This for me is what makes SP3 unique and why you never tire from listening.
Very few other artists have ever been so consistently good and being contentious even Spiritualized have seen big dips in their output - LICD.
Recently only groups such as Primal Scream, Mogwai and Boards of Canada have been consistently brilliant with each new album.
As a further point i think that since the demise of SP3 Sonic has gone on to challenge and explore with each new project in EAR, Spectrum etc and i think this has been achieved with continuing and new collabarations. Primal Scream got instantly better with Kevin Shields and Mani. Through this time Jason seems unable to lose total control. I wonder how different it would have been if he had explored different collabarations....
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Postby will this do? » Tue Jun 01, 2004 5:40 pm

…although.

Most of the apologists for this record (prior to $26’s contribution) were arguing along the lines of “what a fascinating artefact” rather than “this record makes Exile on Main Street look like Eight Legged Groove Machine”.

And in fact, most of the defences of the record provoked by Mr Dollars seem to concede (in small print, between the lines) that as a record of top pop tunes it is less than half as good as Playing With Fire, Sound of Confusion, and Perfect Prescription (in that order). Heck, Mr Boom even lends his own evidence that the record was vandalised by infighting, politics, management, blah blah.

What I am suggesting, is that some people seem keener to put the boot into twentysix than to listen to what he (or anyone else, Sonic included) have to say.


As for the “only heard by obsessives” thing: self-evident. It’s not been available for xx years.

Me? I thought it was on the lame side in whatever year it came out (if you can remember, the 90’s you weren’t there).

I don’t think it’s aged at all well as a recording (when tomorrow hits excepted). But then perhaps I just don’t get it.

The memory of the phrase “there’s always been a dance element to our music” (no one in Spacemen 3 ever said this, but they are nonetheless guilty by association in my book), and the horrible indie-dance beats all over it see to that.

Flippant enough?
will this do?
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Postby runcible » Tue Jun 01, 2004 6:53 pm

The point of others hostility to $26's post was it was completely dismissive, saying the record was never really very good, that neither contributor's songs are very good, and that its ageing potential isn't very good either. I disgaree with all that but part of the fun of $26 is that I have a healthy respect for him despite disagreeing with much of what he says - we should all be used to his opinionated approach by now. It took Ian G, another regular here whose posts I read with eagerness, some time to get past the initial 'rubbed me up the wrong way' nature of 26. Part of it is poking the hornets nest on his part - stimulting a debate is always interesting and its made me a) react and b) listen to Recurring again, both of which are good things.

We are all going to have different ideas as to what is the best album by which band. SpacemanRob makes a great point in that Spacemen 3, as far as he and I are concerned anyway, just didn't make bad albums and Recurring is very much included in that. By splitting the record (I get the impression Pete found that unforgiveable) Fire fanned the flames (pardon that one) of the break up and turned the record into a gimmick. That's very sad I think - I said before that Set Me Free and Feelin' Just Fine are 2 of my favourite Kember/Pierce compositions and I think they sound as fresh and brilliant now as they did then. One can say Big City possibly sounds dated but nothing else, but Big City was written about those times, the energy Pete saw at Happy Mondays gigs and so it belongs to those times too.

I would add a final note on the atmosphere surrounding this album. Pete and Jason weren't speaking, and this internal strife must have been hard on Will and John. I've talked to Pete a few times about that period and it certainly had an impact on him as he decribed the whole time as very unpleasant. Something special you're 50% of has begun to unravel and the person you trusted most has changed - I say this as a thing both Jason and Pete will have been thinking I'm sure.
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Postby twentysixdollars » Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:11 pm

nasty wrote:You seem to have a real flair for spouting such unsubstantiated statements, offering flaky Byrds comparisons by way of qualification, so please feel free to expand on


(Blushes) You're cute.

Look, I'd love to, but I simply don't have time. This has been an exceptionally busy few months and in about two weeks things are really going to heat up. Ask Runcible. It's the same reason why I haven't been able to write him, even though I've really very much wanted to. (Hold tight Mark!)

But the (implicit) defenses of my inflated rhetoric by Will This Do? and Runcible were really sweet and it was nice to read them. As always I will return and substantiate my most controversial arguments, convincing no-one I'm sure but at least airing my grievances more convincingly.

And I might do well to add that my mind does change occasionally. My opinion of A Storm In Heaven for example is much higher today than it ever was. Furthermore, I used to have a mild aversion to Sound of Confusion as Runcible will attest and upon listening anew I think it's really exciting. It and Perfect Prescription are damn near unassailable. I was wrong about both to a certain extent, although I still think Ode to Street Hassle is a little silly. But my new target is Playing With Fire, which sounds extremely tedious nowadays, and has for a few years. Jason's songs are pleasant but insubstantial (for lack of Peter?) or just too few (though Come Down Softly and Lord Can You Hear Me obviously are among the group's best work), and Peter's, which dominate the record, are, with the exception of Honey, rather pedestrian. I've always had the same complaints regarding Recurring but apparently this is the first time I've said so.
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Postby stevie » Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:31 pm

twentysixdollars wrote: But my new target is Playing With Fire, which sounds extremely tedious nowadays, and has for a few years.


Now you've offended me as well. Playing With Fire is IT. Hands up who wants get $26? :wink:

I'm in no way obsessive about Spacemen 3 and there's a reasonable percentage of their stuff that does little for me but Recurring's also fantastic and I long for it's re-release due to my own tragic loss of a copy.[/b]
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Postby will this do? » Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:50 am

Yes, but…

What I was saying is that the even most vociferous advocates of the record were content to damn it with faint praise, until provoked by someone else.

I can also remember that I disliked the sleeve art when it came out. Initial semiotic analysis suggested an attempt either to “get on the groovy train” (a theory given additional weight by the baggy beats on the vinyl), or a dropping off of interest in such things as sleeve art by the band members. Ooh, lots of recurring “threes” all multicoloured… It could hardly have been more literal and obvious if it had featured three band members in spaceman costumes…wait a minute.
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Postby nasty » Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:57 am

will this do wrote:

What I am suggesting, is that some people seem keener to put the boot into twentysix than to listen to what he (or anyone else, Sonic included) have to say.


Personally, I thought it was great to hear sonic's comments after all these years (thanks Runcible) and I'd be very interested in listening to what $26 what has to say concerning this topic - just wanted him to offer something that might help me to see where he was coming from. OK, so you both regard this as being an inferior recording? though I disagree entirely I can live with that, but am just interested to hear why. Personally, I've always much preferred jason's side on recurring, but I still believe that even those songs alone are enough to make it stand up as a great album.

will this do wrote
As for the “only heard by obsessives” thing: self-evident. It’s not been available for xx years.


I'm not convinced that this follows, being that it was perfectly available to non-obsessives at the time. Just out of print, that's all.

will this do wrote
The memory of the phrase “there’s always been a dance element to our music” (no one in Spacemen 3 ever said this, but they are nonetheless guilty by association in my book), and the horrible indie-dance beats all over it see to that.


LOL (that phrase has given me a mild flashback) I'd have to agree to some extent with this....

will this do wrote
Flippant enough?


A good effort, but I think you've tried a bit too hard :wink:

twentysixdollars wrote:
(Blushes) You're cute.

Look, I'd love to, but I simply don't have time. This has been an exceptionally busy few months and in about two weeks things are really going to heat up. Ask Runcible. It's the same reason why I haven't been able to write him, even though I've really very much wanted to. (Hold tight Mark!)

But the (implicit) defenses of my inflated rhetoric by Will This Do? and Runcible were really sweet and it was nice to read them. As always I will return and substantiate my most controversial arguments, convincing no-one I'm sure but at least airing my grievances more convincingly.


Why does there seems to be so much arse rubbing on this board?! Er.... Runcible, is Mr Dollars really busy? Seriously, 26, I'm not out for a row but would be genuinely interested if you do find the time to expand (particularly re the so hot likeness) and I too am amenable to having my mind changed.

Cute regards,

Nick
x
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Postby nasty » Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:13 am

I can also remember that I disliked the sleeve art when it came out. Initial semiotic analysis suggested an attempt either to “get on the groovy train” (a theory given additional weight by the baggy beats on the vinyl), or a dropping off of interest in such things as sleeve art by the band members. Ooh, lots of recurring “threes” all multicoloured… It could hardly have been more literal and obvious if it had featured three band members in spaceman costumes…wait a minute

... couldn't agree with this more but as I was saying in my last post, 'Jason's side' seemed to excuse a lot of this for me personally.
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Postby runcible » Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:10 pm

But my new target is Playing With Fire, which sounds extremely tedious nowadays, and has for a few years. Jason's songs are pleasant but insubstantial (for lack of Peter?) or just too few (though Come Down Softly and Lord Can You Hear Me obviously are among the group's best work), and Peter's, which dominate the record, are, with the exception of Honey, rather pedestrian.


You'll work your way up to saying Perfect Prescription is banal in a year or so.

PWF was my favourite Spacemen album for a while - I have mentioned before that it really took me a few years to understand the true magic of Perfect Prescription despite having loved it from the first day of purchase. Without jawing on for hours about the genius of PWF I believe that the records great songs are one you haven't mentioned, which are the first 2 tracks on the second side. Actually the entire sequence of side 2 is completely mind-blowing, with Let Me Down Gently drifting into So Hot, everything being torn up by Suicide and then given the funeral-soaked send off of Lord can You Hear Me. Genuine genius of the highest order. I was left gasping on the first listen and felt this was the greatest record I had ever heard in my life. It remains one of them still although my long term feelings aren't quite the same. Quite interesting to note that Jason solely only penned 3 of the LP's 9 tracks, with Pete writing 6 (I'm talking about the initial vinyl release). Makes you wonder which ones he kept back.

I think 26 has indeed been busy. Taken a bloody age to reply to the last email I sent anyway.
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Postby Silent Corner/Empty Stage » Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:43 pm

FYI: The reissue of Recurring is now available for order on Sonic's site. I'll be ordering mine ASAP. I need a better paying job, too much stuff to buy not enough $$$
'I swear to God that's the truth. But I swear to God that God isn't.'
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Postby asd2112 » Thu Jun 03, 2004 5:56 am

I've been listening to spacemen 3 for about 4 years, slowy getting into each of their records. for me, it has taken several listens to start fully enjoying each album. i hated recurring when i first heard it a year ago(mp3 download) and never listened to it again(it was quickly deleted). nonethenless i just got the reissue and i love it. not sure why i so despised it a year ago, i think it was just the confusion of the first track(big city), i thought this can't be spacemen 3. but after letting go of my expectations the album holds up on its own, and is a great psychedalic pop record. well anyway, i've been enjoying reading these posts as i listen and just wanted to say that 14 years(?) after its release the album can attract and entertain new ears.
i don't want to be your lover i just want to be your victim

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Postby andyblacktoo » Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:59 am

mmmmm, unsusal.

personally i love recurring, i bought my shiny gold embossed vinyl sleeve version from the long defunct discovery records, clock towers shopping centre, rugby, and i've got a cd version on dedicated as well, which I also picked up in rugby.

I really like it as an album, especially sonics stuff which is unusual for me.

playing with fire is shite???? most certainly not I think. easily the spacemen album which continues to attract the most positive reviews, but yep I'm with runcible on this one over the beauty of perfect prescription.
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Postby flamingrev » Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:44 am

I hardly ever post. Howdy. I was the guy that started the "real" complete works thing about 5 or 6 years ago.
I recently heard Recurring for the first time. It had been my holy grail for awhile, and I found it used for $9. It's the american version with less songs, but I thought I'd offer my relatively fresh opinion on the album. For the sake of context, let it be said that I love the other three "proper" albums unconditionally, every song, echo, and space fart.
THE PACKAGING for recurring is ugly as sin. I don't have a problem with the layered 3's, although it is far less interesting than their others. But the title font, and all other artwork is ghastly. It looks as though no thought or care was put into the packaging of this album. Hopefully Spaceage will spiffy the packaging up, although I was not too impressed with the Forged Prescription's packaging either.
SONIC'S SIDE: Big City is beautiful. My initial reaction was doubtful, what with the dance beat and all. But the production is pretty good and it's an addictive song. Does it sound dated? Yeah, but in this case it doesn't hurt it any. "Why Couldn't I see", "Just to See You Smile", and "Set Me Free/I got the Key" all work well, especially Just to See You Smile. I HATE "I love you." This song is just so simple and thick and dumb. The quivering tremolo sound is the only decent bit in it. Likewise, "When Tomorrow Hits" sounds leaden and boring. It is pretty exciting when the guitars really get going, but the vocals sound as if Sonic could care less. I tend to agree with $26 about Sonic's mediocre solo career, and for me Recurring is the start of Sonic's half-assed path that he still follows farther and farther down into boredom. Spectrum has some great songs, but too often the albums feel....somehow slight. And don't get me started on EAR, i've got almost all of those albums and I tried to get into them but all they're good for is putting me to sleep. Although I do like the Koner Experiment allright. But I digress....
JASON'S SIDE is damn near perfect. "Feel So Sad" feels a little underwhelming having heard it in other, superior versions, yet it is still a gorgeous aching song. The Recurring version is far subtler than any of the others, and it rewards close attention. Then comes the trio of songs that makes the CD worth paying good money for. "Hypnotized", "Sometimes", and especially "Head Full of Shit" are perfect, hazy dreams. Sometimes is a precursor to "Don't Just Sit There" with the repeated use of the word "sometimes" in the chorus. "Feelin Just Fine" usually gets played three times when listening to the album. It's just too good to hear only once. This song ranks with any of Spiritualized's greatest songs, and I would give my eye teeth to hear it in concert. "Billy Whizz" is good, but the songs that precede it make it feel a little weak.

As far as splitting up the album is concerned, I think it does hurt the listening experience. It is nice to hear Jason's side in one beautiful chunk, but as a whole the album feels a little marginal. While every other Spacemen album was a visceral, complete experience from the packaging to the flow of songs, Recurring is a compromised album that does not measure up to the sum of it's parts. It's necessary for any Spacemen 3 fan, and I encourage anyone who hasn't heard it to pick it up when Spaceage reissues it. There are many treasures to be found in Recurring, but it's a shame that Jason and Sonic couldn't have worked it out to make a perfect, appropriate final album.

jbc
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Postby jesus son » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:31 am

andyblacktoo wrote:mmmmm, unsusal.

personally i love recurring, i bought my shiny gold embossed vinyl sleeve version from the long defunct discovery records, clock towers shopping centre, rugby, and i've got a cd version on dedicated as well, which I also picked up in rugby.

I really like it as an album, especially sonics stuff which is unusual for me.

playing with fire is shite???? most certainly not I think. easily the spacemen album which continues to attract the most positive reviews, but yep I'm with runcible on this one over the beauty of perfect prescription.


Discovery was great, but not as cool as Convergence Records in Regent Street!

For collectors/trivia fans there are two items which never get mentioned in the discographies I've seen. The first (which Convergence sold) was a tape called "The Holy Bible" which was a compilation containing a Spacemen (demo) track - I'll have to dig mine out to check but I think it was 2.35. I believe this was their first 'commercially available' recording and was well before the Glass deal. The second was a limited edition of the Walking With Jesus 12" which was stickered in the shop as a Discovery exclusive and contained a numbered blue insert and a badge! Does anyone know if this got sold anywhere else?
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Postby Ian » Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:42 am

The Walkin' With Jesus 12" with the insert is not that uncommon - there are about 1400 of them (although no one knows exactly how many).

The Holy Bible includes the Northampton demo of Losing Touch With My Mind, the same version that's on Taking Drugs... Other tapes sold in Convergence were Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache, which included May The Circle Be Unbroken (before it was released), Super Cosmic Joy, which includes a blistering live version of Things'll Never Be The Same as well as a 20 minute jam featuring loads of bands as well as the Spacemen, Oozing Through The Ozone Layer which has demos of Come Down Easy and Transparent Radiation, and the original version of For All The Fucked Up Children...

And if anyone has copies of them they're prepared to sell, please let me know!

Love,

Ian
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Postby slim » Thu Jun 03, 2004 12:31 pm

Well it seems I like the thing for all the reasons the haters hate it.

All the previous Sp3 releases were different in some way from the previous one, and Recurring is no different. I like the fact it's has glossier, cleaner production, and the cover to me seems to have encapsulated. I like the divide between the two halfs, but most of all I like the songs.

If you think of it as two records then it certainly set down the markers for both Soul Kiss and Lazer Guided Melodies.
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Postby andyblacktoo » Thu Jun 03, 2004 2:19 pm

jees, i did'nt know there were that many record shops in rugby at one time, now there is only the selectadisc left and thats pants.

whereabouts on regent street was convergence, was it before or after the argos store, (now o'neills).

although a bit too young for the spacemen in their heyday, i certainly remember all the spacemen 3 flypostering across town, especially seeing posters to advertise sounds of confusion.

as for the blitz club : it had a cheesy eighties wign with a revolving records which would probably be worth loads in today's eighties revival land.
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Postby jesus son » Thu Jun 03, 2004 5:17 pm

andyblacktoo wrote:jees, i did'nt know there were that many record shops in rugby at one time, now there is only the selectadisc left and thats pants.

whereabouts on regent street was convergence, was it before or after the argos store, (now o'neills).

although a bit too young for the spacemen in their heyday, i certainly remember all the spacemen 3 flypostering across town, especially seeing posters to advertise sounds of confusion.

as for the blitz club : it had a cheesy eighties wign with a revolving records which would probably be worth loads in today's eighties revival land.


Sorry to bore people with tales of Rugby of old - Convergence was directly opposite to where O'Neills is / Argos was, if my memory serves me correctly. Probably an estate agents now. I do remember Convergence having a handrawn ad in the window when the Spacemen were looking for their second(?) drummer, from which they found Rosco I guess, or was he already mates with Pete Bain?
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Postby andyblacktoo » Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:52 pm

aha, i remember now

thanks very much.

andy
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Postby Guest » Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:12 pm

find it strange that during all this discussion bout what is good bout recurring etc that no one has really touched on their live efforts. to me both spz and spec are studio bands, always looking for that elusive sound, yet spacemen were SO at their best when playing live. what you think?
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Postby runcible » Sat Jun 12, 2004 7:29 pm

You have to treat the live Spacemen and the studio Spacemen as two different concepts.

Live they were an absolute barrage of noise, or they were at every gig I saw. Utterly devastating and brutally uncompromising. I never heard them play anything even vaguely laid back, but my last live experience came before the final summer shows in 1989 where occasional pauses in the onslaught occurred in songs like I Believe It and Lord Can You Hear Me (neither of which I saw them play).

In the studio they made, for me and many others, the most remarkable music I've ever heard. I've just logged on after doing a quick bit of pre supper preparation and wapped on Forged Prescriptions while I pottered in the kitchen. The version of WWJ is so extraordinary - not many bands can make such gentle, subtle yet atmospheric and penetrating songs as that. Breathtaking stuff. That whole double CD is wonderful, but then I regard every Spacemen 3 record as outstanding, so I dismiss the idea of them being simply a 'live' band.

Looking back it is the records I seek out to listen to more than the live recordings. One could accuse them of being more one-dimensional live than on record (where they cover so many different styles). And despite me being the Spacemen obsessive that I am I'd place one particular Spiritualized live experience above any that I witnessed with Spacemen 3, although I know who is the better band and its not Spiritualized.
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Re: Recurring - the last and best Spacemen 3 enigma

Postby Dreamweapon » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:39 am

There seems to be a few different threads regarding Recurring and the prescence of the different sets of demos. From some browsing, I can see that people have tried to offer a service and to clean up the recordings of these, which is great.

Given the treatmetn that 'The Perfect Prescription' got with 'Forged Presciptions' and 'Playing With Fire' as the double disc reissue, will there ever be a definitive reissue of 'Recurring' with demos, songs that may have been tried out but never appeared (there are references to 'Codeine' for example). I think this is a genuinely great album, and IF there is anything else out there, it would be great to have an insight into the band at the time, whatever guise that would be under.

There is also a mention in the thread of Gerald having some master tapes, so maybe there are "good" demo recordings etc.

Further to this, is there anything else out there from the 'Sound Of Confusion' era, indeed anything else at all, or is the vault now empty?!

I know I also did a thread under Spacemen 3 double CDs too, so again, apolgies if this should maybe go there....
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