RRP RecommendsPublic Service Broadcasting – Sputnik

By | posted on 13th November 2015

By my reckoning, this is the 1000th track here on Record Rewind Play.

[wait for applause to die down]

It's an entirely arbitrary and somewhat fudged landmark, of course, since some of the tracks actually pre-date the launch of the site and were copied from the Facebook page (hint: click HERE) of the same name. There are also hundreds of other tracks posted as part of playlists and articles here, but for single track posts, the counter has reached the stage where we need to bolt on a fourth digit. Which we will do promptly, and damn the expense.

It all started, really, with the Facebook page, which I set up in 2012 while I was deep in the writing phase of what was to become a book, also of the same name. And whereas the first track to appear here was "Happy Hour" by The Housemartins in November 2012, you have to go all the way back to April to find my first musical offering.

Taking a break from the 80s today, skipping forward to 1993, when I started going to gigs. Catherine Wheel was my first...

Posted by Record, rewind, play on Tuesday, 24 April 2012

In between tracks I made some over-excited milestone posts about how many words I'd written up to that point, very much in the "never mind the quality, feel the width" spirit. These petered out after the sixty thousand word mark, and to date I don't yet have a book published, although I do now have two partly written. In a sense, I suppose, I could count that as progress.

The website came into being on August 25th, 2013. I don't know that because I particularly remember the moment, but because I found the tweet in which I mentioned it. I'm not one for fanfare in general:

Starting out, this wasn't really a new music blog, more of a loosely themed old-stuff-that-I-like blog. I added a track each day, and a playlist each month, and pretty much failed to tell anyone what I was doing, other than a few friends who'd liked (possibly under duress or a sense of loyalty and obligation) the Facebook page. I wasn't even using twitter, really, and only changed my handle to @recrwplay in February 2014. That's when this site really started to become what it is today: a promoter of new music of no fixed genre, with occasional album reviews and articles. It might not change the world, but all I really want is to connect musicians and music fans: any time someone discovers a new musical love that resonates with them, which maybe they, too, want to share with their friends, that's an achievement unlocked.

So, to everyone who has contributed words, liked the Facebook page, followed on Twitter, retweeted, liked, commented, sent me a track or a link, shown an interest, or generally supported Record Rewind Play in any way - a hearty and sincere thank you. This doesn't exist without all of your input.

I probably imagined that I'd have more twitter followers by now, and more average daily page views, but then as a mildly space (and trains, of course I was into trains... and computers... also: spying) obsessed kid growing up in the 1980s I thought we'd be at least taking regular trips to the moon, if not actually colonising it by now.

Which brings me neatly [are you sure? Ed.] round to Public Service Broadcasting, and "Sputnik": a band name and a track that epitomise progress and growth. Now, it might be a tad lofty to suggest that Record Rewind Play can match the remit of Public Service Broadcasting - "Inform - Educate - Entertain" - but I like to think that each of those has been attained at least once in the last three or so years. Failing that, I'll settle for one example from any category.

Also, in putting the first artificial satellite into low earth orbit in 1957, the Soviet space program achieved, it's safe to say, somewhat more than a little music blog chuntering on about how Moose were unfairly denied greatness, that Tindersticks are the one band you absolutely have to see live if you get the chance, and that [redacted x 3] are my picks and the best picks for #blogsoundof2016.

"Sputnik" is the literally pulsing first half of a double a-side, the fourth release from Public Service Broadcasting's 2015 album The Race For Space. It's a mesmeric, metronomic track that brings to life the awe and wonder that must have been felt around the world after the launch of this strange, beeping creation, so alien, to the western powers a little surprising, and - given the politics of the day - so threatening. Like the tracks that make up the bulk of The Race For Space "Sputnik" creates waves of atmosphere from small gestures, perfectly timed audio snippets, and a clear love and appreciation of its subject matter; you feel the "the voice of the Russian moon" throughout the track, even though its signal comes and goes. It's a sylph-like presence in the sky, tiny and cosmologically insignificant, but on a human scale, a powerful force that inspired and motivated people and governments: four months after the satellite's launch, President Eisenhower responded with the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA / DARPA)

Sergei Korolev (cloaked in secrecy, and referred to only as "The Chief Designer" at the time) is the subject of the release's other a-side. He was "the talismanic figure spearheading the Russian Space program". During his lifetime, and under his stewardship, the Soviet space program put the first man in space, and the first man in space outside his craft (Alexey Leonov). After his death in 1966, the balance of extra-terrestrial power swung away from his nation.

You can buy Sputnik from the Public Service Broadcasting store HERE, and tour tickets HERE.