The book details the history of The Legendary Pink Dots, the band well-known for combining melody and mood in beautiful, haunting songs and soundscapes. This book documents the band’s first decade in all its despair and glory. Based on their extensive discography, it combines facts and confabulation from various members of the Legendary Pink Dots and close associates. The book contains a year-by-year written history of the band’s early years, supplemented with extensive photos from the time, and includes an illustrated discography (inevitably but understandably labeled a “Dotsography”). With unique images and an exclusive compact disc featuring Dots-songs from the 1980s (including two previously unreleased ones!) selected by band members, Close Your Eyes, You Can Be A Space Captain is an incentive to sing while you may!
148 pages, hardcover with CD (not a CDR!)
The compact disc that comes with this book features the Dots’ handpicked favourite tracks from the 1980s.
Guess The Politician
The Month After
Guardians Of Eden
Lullaby For Charles’ Brother (1980 Version) Misfortunes
Review published on August 15, 2023 in Vital
FREEK KINKELAAR – CLOSE YOUR EYES YOU CAN BE A SPACE CAPTAIN (book with CD by Korm Plastics)
This came out a while back, but it has been a long time for me to re-sit down and write reviews. One ‘excuse’ is that the bag in my copy of this book (and not much more) was stolen on the Belgian railways in May … bummer – and foreseeable (unfortunately). This book covers the 1980ies in the Legendary Pink Dots history (which raises some questions, more on that later). This takes me back to distant memories. How did I first encounter the Legendary Pink Dots? I believe it was hearing ‘Close your eyes’ on the Rising from the Red Sand five cassette compilation or a cassette by the 59 to 1 label. Or something like that; sometimes, I was buying from the Normal shop and 235. Those times in the mid-1980ies when the Nurse With Wound LP ‘Ostranenie 1913’ popped up on sell-off lists as no one understood (and bought) the music at the time. I explored the LPD cassette albums, then their first vinyl release, ‘Brighter Now’. I was intrigued, and hooked.
The music fit the times, post-punk searching for new directions, Sonic Youth only on the horizon. The Pink Dots were somewhere out there in space. Not really connected to any other music direction, apart from maybe Attrition or Portion Control, being on the same label initially. But then, only faintly related in music style to any of the two. They created their very own musical universe. Breezy music with haunting and slightly menacing vocals. At the same time, psychedelic, minimal, pop, industrial, leftfield … With tracks strewn across many compilations (the majority initially on tape labels), it was hard to follow their development. Once the ‘vinyl era’ started for the Dots, it became more manageable with a constant flow of one or two releases per year. But maybe also a bit more mainstream. I attended many of their concerts in my region, but we also travelled to the Netherlands to watch shows. And I interviewed Edward for a fanzine that then never happened. I realise now all this is 40 years back. And the Legendary Pink Dots still exist and publish music. And they still sound like the Dots, though a little sleeker and maybe regurgitating styles, music, and tunes. Nevertheless, still sound fresh and interesting, and probably better musicians than then.
The book ventures to track their ‘first decade’ – with the Dots’ first releases happening in 1981, this is eventually the complete 1980ies. Using extensive interviews with band members and associates, Freek has compiled a biography with a distinctly ‘behind the scenes’ feel. I definitely would not even be able to come up with the level of detail of my life in the 1980ies from my memories alone, so Freek has done an excellent job of running around speaking to people and piecing together the puzzle of the LPD band history. This also leads to contradictory details, as different people remember items differently. Alternate realities, if you like. This makes fantastic reading and brings back fond memories to anyone old enough. Like any biography, it also reveals all sorts of less critical laundry that gets you hooked on the story and makes reading even more enjoyable. Spliced into the story are the details of the different releases as they happened, adding a full discography to the ongoing storyline. This turns into a slightly weak point, as not all music publishing is linear in time, and the timeline of the releases somehow gets in the way of the story itself. Nevertheless, a tip of my (non-existent) hat to Freek for collecting all the detail
The accompanying CD, though, I did not enjoy quite as much. It is a compilation of LPD tracks (obviously), and you would have expected a kind of ‘best of’ collection. The approach taken, though, at first sight, looks more intelligent, i.e. asking all those involved to identify their favourite songs. And, of course, ‘Close your eyes’ is included. But many of the other tunes were not my favourites and not even – in my opinion – a selection of the outstanding and memorable tracks of that decade. A bit of a pity, as the CD, contrary to what it could have potentially supplied, does not add anything to the total impression of the book, which remains an interesting, fascinating, and entertaining read. The other bit of criticism is why the book only covers the first decade, considering there were/are three more to come. Because they are less interesting? Or because of a lack of time? Because in old age, current memories fade, and you go back to your past?? I hope it is
the second and Freek will have the peace and time to write the next part. It’s a bit of a cliffhanger, to be honest, as the later years of the Dots are less documented than their first years, though it might be less dramatic. So definitely something I would like to read about. Freek, anything? (RSW)
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