space / reed and caroline

Those subscribing to the bundle edition of electronic sound will find tucked inside this months ‘space’ edition, a dinky little seven inch pairing together a Vince Clarke rephrasing of Space’s immortal ‘magic fly’ and Reed and Caroline’s ‘before’. Now for those of us of a certain age found stirring away from the trappings of pop and not quite ready to embrace the full force of punk, (seeing Generation X on TV would seal that jump for us), the sounds of a distant electronic future held us fascinated and hypnotized in its new age glare. Firstly, Bowie’s ‘sound and Vision’ (later ‘Low’ especially the, at the time, critically derided side 2 held a particular relationship with the house hi-fi) and Jarre’s ‘Oxygene (part IV) (later ‘Oxygene’), both whispered a dream like strangeness in those early months of ‘77 to a younger version finding for himself his own sound. Released that summer, something of a game changer arrived in the shape of Space’s ‘magic fly’. According to Electronic Sound at page 56, only denied a UK top spot by the ‘inconvenient passing of Elvis Presley’. Now I’m fairly certain, that had he a choice in the matter, then perhaps Mr Presley would have opted to stay alive. That said, ‘magic fly’ set the template and unwittingly created a new pop gene pool that fused and housed the futuristic sounds of electronics with mainstream pop under a cosmic mirror ball in to the bargain giving birth to space disco the following year – see Cerrone, Hot Gossip et al. forty years after its initial appearance, Vince Clarke steps up to the plate with the unenviable task of teasing something new from the original template, which given the track sounded light years into the future in the first place is no mean feat / challenge, but it’s a challenge he takes on with much gusto, here keeping the primary motif untouched it would appear around it stripping back on the originals disco dinked phrasing and employing in its place a spacy and more amorphous futuristic footing that’s sure to appeal to the purists. As said, over on the flip, Reed and Caroline’s ‘before’ awaits to seduce, courting a starry hymnal toning, there’s something teasingly warm and cosy about this fetching cosmic cutie swirling as it is in twinkling corteges of electronic chimes and the succulent harvest of radiant string swathes, adorable in  a word.


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