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SPACE DEBRIS – Getting right inside the music of my favourite improvisational rock band – everything

“The early history started with a DEEP PURPLE covers band named Mandrake Root and Space Debris finally got going in earnest in 2005.”

But let’s start with THREE (2006): As can be seen on BANDCAMP, I wrote: “Dark Star has an early PINK FLOYD influence, On Trip Vitesse, Tom Kunkel’s Hammond has roots in the two Jimmys Mc GRIFF and SMITH and BRIAN AUGER. Mountain High’s title is a give-away – Nantucket Sleighride anybody? The question-answer between Tommy Gorny’s guitar and Tom’s organ is a delight. A host of classic late sixties/ early seventies influences percolate through the music distilled into something fresh, vibrant and relevant. The band is at its most expansive on La Mano De Dias combining the experimental vista of an AMON DÜÜL II with the subtlety of FOCUS. There is some heavy riffing redolent of DEEP PURPLE or THE ALLMAN BROTHERS and atmospheric passages that wouldn’t be out of place on “A Saucerful of Secrets”.


So, after all these years I am back listening and reflecting on SPACE DEBRIS – BEST OF 1998-2020, 32 tracks containing, I reckon, around 10 LPs worth of music for the bargain price of 15 euros on BANDCAMP. Dark Star, La Mano De Dias and Saurus from THREE are all present.


Thanks to drummer and producer extraordinaire Christian Jäger, I was lucky to be in on SPACE DEBRIS from the start and their first two albums KRAUTROCK SESSIONS (1994/ 2021) KRAUTLOK (2005) are represented by Bolivia, Capitalists’ Nightmare and the 21minute two-part Second Sight; in order they invoke SANTANA/ FOCUS; heavy riff rock, and a grungy version of early PINK FLOYD meets THE NICE’s Rondo meets JIMI HENDRIX; also, Long Distance Voyager that brought me back to BRIAN AUGER’S OBLIVION EXPRESS “Closer to It” LP and the twists and turns of We Were at the Moon Before You Were at the Moon. In short, the early albums are well represented, and rightly so.


ELEPHANT MOON (2008) wasreleased as a triple vinyl/ 2 CD, and this album is a highly significant album in Space Debris history as shown by the inclusion of Free Spirits, Heliopolis, Medicine Men, Jazzvibe Explorer, Ur Whales and Black Viking on the ‘best of’. I’m sure that Jerry Kranitz, whose ‘Aural Innovations’ space-rock show was regularly on my radar (and much missed) won’t mind me quoting his review. He singles out most of the tracks above: Free Spirits, all 22 minutes of it draws phrases like “elegant and edgy psychedelic guitar; spacey tripped out vintage organ”; Heliopolis encompasses ambient, jazz with melodic piano and “twist and turns without ever sounding disjointed” and the 21-minute Black Viking with heavy crunching and wah-wah guitar giving way to moving, melodic music; the bluesy Medicine Men is also mentioned in dispatches. This was Jerry’s first experience of Space Debris and he was, in his own words, “blown away”. I would like to mention that it was a brave move to release six sides of vinyl at one go, but it paid off and was an important step in the band’s development.


NEXT TIME – LIVE AND ARCHIVE RECORDINGS


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