PREMIERE: The Galaxy Electric – ‘Tomorrow Was Better Than Yesterday’: retrotronics to watch Earthrise

The Galaxy Electric: the (retro-)future's so bright, they gotta wear shades. Photographed by Jen Meller

 THE GALAXY ELECTRIC is American husband and wife duo Augustus and Jacqueline, who adore the music of the past of the future: that sweet, groovy as hell, jetpack-sporting and pristine white polo-necked spot where Broadcast, The Soundcarriers and others converge to fulfil the prophecy of the music we should be listening to today, in the 21st century, as predicted and outlined and founded by those tape pioneers and early ‘tronica specialists such as Daphne Oram, Cecil Leuter, Pierre Henry et al, way back in the 60s. Music that’s luxurious, psychedelic: music to gaze back at the Earth from in your moonbase pod.

But they’re venturing further with their “cosmic tape music” on new album Tomorrow Was Better Yesterday  – they’re launching a Kickstarter pre-order today, August 12th, in order that their second LP be out in the cosmos in its ideal iteration: reel-to-reel tape.

And here at Backseat Mafia we’re delighted to help them in their quest for format harmony  – and something to play with ease in your hover-car, file safely on the magnetic shelf as you play up above the exosphere in the solar winds.

So, The Galaxy Electric: who are you? Will you reveal yourselves, lift those visors?

Jacqueline and Augustus say: “We met during our years running around the open mic scene in Washington, DC; that was actually 15 years ago this month, which is hard to fathom. We thought it best to keep to our own music projects, but it didn’t take long to start writing and producing together. 

“Most of our time together was spent in LA, where The Galaxy Electric was born in one of those downtown rehearsal rooms that no longer exist. 

“It was a magnificent time to be forming our sound, as we were surrounded by so many inspiring psych and experimental bands. We soaked in the vibrations coming through the walls.

“What bands did we bond over? We were both raised on The Beatles and were drawn to their use of tape experimentation. This led us to discover more of the original pioneers of early electronic music made with magnetic tape, like Daphne Oram, Kid Baltan, Bebe and Louis Barron, Pauline Oliveros, and of course [Karlheinz] Stockhausen

“We actually have a private group called the Cosmic Tape Music Club where we go in depth on these pioneers. We post the weekly conversations on our YouTube channel as well.”

They have one album under their belts, 2016’s Everything Is Light And Sound, which you can still pick up digitally and on vinyl over at their website alongside a clutch of digital releases. It presses all your correspondent’s correct retrotronica-hauntological-psych buttons; check out the sweet space melodies of “Murder in the Garden”, for example.

They’ve opened across the States for the premiere futurist Cornish-Welsh pop practitioner Gwenno, and returned to the studio afire with ideas for the new set. They’ve employ Buchla-style synthesizers, reel-to-reel and cassette tape machines, a Mellotron, a Korg Delta and various effects devices to plot their latest astral journey – and they also just let it flow, let the sonics happen, this time around: 

“This is the first album we have ever recorded that was fully and completely improvised. We recorded to quarter-inch analogue tape without any digital recording magic – overdubs, edits, tuning, etc. 

“We spent a year practicing this new improvisational style before we turned on the tape machine; but once we did, we recorded every day for a month. And when we listened back we realized we had created a space-age fantasy album with an incredible story; a soundtrack to a time traveling space voyage.”

And today with us they unveil a teasing, tasty collage video splice of their new album in tandem with the Kickstarter pre-order campaign. Don safety goggles, zero-gravity gear and come on the journey, below. You’ll find yourself swept out into deep psych-space, atop zooms and wooshes, chimes and other such electronic onomatopeia, all sweetly arrowing home with Jacqueline’s otherly vocals, coming on like Maya from Space:1999.

They say: “This video is like a movie trailer for the album with imagery crafted by Italian video artist Michelle Pan. It’s a retro sci-fi acid trip – and hopefully a pleasant one!”

But why reel-to-reel guys? I mean the whole world, pretty much, has got with the vinyl rebirth; cassettes yes, they’ve really got their aficionados; but?

“In order to honour the recording process of this album we knew we had to find a way to release it on reel-to-reel tape with the most amazing artwork and packaging – to create a unique collector’s item worthy of the voyage. 

“With the help of Dead Media Tapes, we will be able to do just that!” 

“We’re starting pre-orders on August 12 through Kickstarter, to release the album on reel-to-reel and limited edition cassettes, with lots of really incredible bonus materials. None of this will be available after the pre-order ends on September 10th.

“Right now we are really focused on putting a spotlight on tape – not just as a medium you to record to, but as a medium to create with. 

“Those who find our work that grew up with this stuff can’t believe there is a community that is still passionate about it and keeping it alive. We are simply enthusiasts creating space for it to be explored. Knowing that others are finding joy in that is what gets us out of bed in the morning. 

“So for this new album – which we improvised and recorded to tape – to be released on reel-to-reel is the next step in this journey; a real culminating moment we hope will delight others as well.”

Strap in. We’re into T-minus. There will be refreshments once we’re clear, and arrival in the offworlds should take no more than an hour. You can book a place aboard the next shuttle out by making a pledge to The Galaxy Electric’s reel-to-reel issue over on Kickstarter, here. Step back into the future of musical reproduction …

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