Released earlier this year on the innovative Last Night From Glasgow record label, L-Space’s excellent debut album Kipple Arcadia is an ambitious exploration of what it might be like to live in a future utopia/dystopia where humans can make copies of themselves and you can drift off into the atmosphere to lose yourself if it all gets a bit noisy on earth.
The album is full of twitchy rhythms, complex layers and the occasional futuristic soundscape tic but, as it progresses, there’s a stillness and space that develops and settles round Lily’s voice. It’s this sense of stillness that gives room for their vision of a future techno culture to grow and settle in the mind, even in the midst all the whirs and clicks.
If this all sounds a bit heavy, really it’s not. They definitely know their way round a breezy pop melody or two and Lily’s gently calling, lullaby vocals tend to keep things floating along in the right direction.
When Lily and Gordon first met, they discovered a common interest in science fiction, they would chat about it on their lunch breaks and it was from there the idea for the band came from. But according to Lily they didn’t really become a full band until they met Dickson. “[Dickson] he’s an author and he was doing a reading at one of Gordon’s arts events. We soundtracked his story he was reading and that worked quite well and it turns he’s a bassist as well. So that’s how the three of us came together.”
In today’s musical landscape where so many bands opt for a pretty bleak view of technology, L-Space see things a little differently. Lily explains, ”Our songs have an element of dystopia and utopia mixed together. I think it’s quite good to have that balance because one person’s utopia is another person’s dystopia and it’s never going to be perfect.
I think it’s also important to realize where we’ve got good things going. You could say there’s a lot to be scared about with technology, but it’s the thing that’s going to solve a lot of the problems we have at the moment.
The obvious one is medicine. Diseases that in western world city life we don’t really think about that much. There are developing agricultural technologies that can help people in rural settings, making their work easier and to make the yields higher so that they can feed more people. Technologies that will solve climate change problems such as rising sea levels causing farmland to be salty. We’re going to need to use technology to solve these problems. So I think there’s a lot of hope, more hope than there is despair in the way technology is going”
There’s a second variety of L-Space in the works too. They were asked to play a synth party, saw the other acts on the bill and thought “okay we need to do something different here”, and so The Unreliable Narrators was born. Lily describes the project as as being more focused on heavy synths and beats, their normal setup is full-band and produces a kind of “dreamy noisy fuzzy synthy sound”. It’s still in development but the pared down Unreliable Narrators incarnation looks likely to be the tougher sounding version. She turns it over, “maybe you could dance to it?”
L-Space play, 20th January, Hug and Pint – Celtic Connections: LNFG