Featured Column: A Journey Through Europe with The Telescopes (Prelude)

Written By: Ola’s Kool Kitchen


The Telescopes: Stephen Lawrie, Byron Jackson, Nick Keech, Jim Beal, James Messenger, Dan Davis Photo by Julia R Kane

‘Beyond the realm of natural vision’

“Every sound you ever heard was but a preliminary exercise in hearing, for the all embracing maelstrom of The Telescopes” (J.Seltzer, Melody Maker 1989)

I’ve been asked to accompany The Telescopes with One Unique Signal on their 2012 European tour. A whirlwind week, where I can document all the zany shenanigans for TPR Magazine and experience my fantasy of a circus coming to town and whisking me away made real.  This is a prequel to my diary; an explanation and introduction of who they are now.

The band was formed in 1987 by Stephen Lawrie from the ocean of sounds that was The Velvets, Suicide, The 13th Floor Elevators, and The Stooges. The Telescopes have been mining a unique, anti-myopic seam of highly influential drone, dream-pop, noise, and psych for over 20 years. During their period on the legendary Creation Records rota, The Telescopes were at their most commercial with their biggest hit “Perfect Needle”. The band has had many incarnations over the years but the main anchor has been Stephen Lawrie who battles between being a melody angel and a noise monster. He occasionally dons The Telescopes mask as a solo artist, doing very experimental sonic shambolic gigs. Lawrie explains:  “Your idea of perfection changes as you move on. I think we still hold the same approach to our music now. We still try just as many mad ideas. It’s just a lot more subtle and works to a different end.”

The Telescopes’ live experience is currently Stephen Lawrie and members of One Unique Signal. It’s a well suited partnership. OUS can follow Stephen through musical chaos while reigning in his noise monster tendencies while maintaining some structure. Their own sounds are equally powerful and they have released a free download to coincide with the tour. To sample the wares please visit: www.oneuniquesignal.com and follow the instructions.

In April 2012 came two new The Telescopes singles; the first, a drone version of Nick Drake’s lost classic “Black Eyed Dog” on the Trensmat label and, the second, a composition entitled “We See Magic And We Are Neutral, Unnecessary,” which was a flexi-postcard release on The Dream Machine label. An album of new songs is also underway, following sessions at the Brian Jonestown Massacre studios in Berlin and Spectrum co-founder, Richard Formby’s studio in Leeds.

Esteemed by old and new musicians alike in the shoegaze scene, their impact reverberates and, like a fine wine or cheese, it tastes better with age. The time is ripe for harvesting the emotional, musical maelstrom of The Telescopes.

I’d like to invite you to The Telescopes‘ 2012 European tour:
Sept 8TH – PARIS (FRANCE)| LA FLECHE D’OR
Sept 9TH – UTRECHT (NETHERLANDS) | DB’S STUDIO
Sept 11TH – COPENHAGEN (DENMARK) | LOPPEN
Sept 12TH – BERLIN (GERMANY) | 8MM AT THE BASSY CLUB
Sept 13TH – COLOGNE (GERMANY) – TSUNAMI CLUB
Sept 14TH – BRUSSELS (BELGIUM) – LE BUNKER (KRAAK)
Sept 16TH – TILBURH (NETHERLANDS) – INCUBATE FESTIVAL
Sept 21st – CARTAXO (PORTUGAL) – CENTRO CULTRAL * THE TELESCOPES ONLY
Sept 22ND PORTO (PORTUGAL) – AUDITORIO VENEPOR * THE TELESCOPES ONLY

More info gleaned here: https://www.facebook.com/events/484730964884276/

To whet your appetite for the live shows, you can download my broadcast of The Telescopes and The Cult of Dom Keller at Corsica studios in London 2011

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2 thoughts on “Featured Column: A Journey Through Europe with The Telescopes (Prelude)

  1. Been a huge admirer of The Telescopes since my late teens. Celeste and Everso were a staple diet for me back then. The cardboard Creation single sleeves were loved, treasured and still take pride and place on my racks. I never got to see the band live for one reason or another. Is there any danger of a UK tour in the near future?
    Many thanks.

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