As reported by FactMag, Tummy Touch Records have announced the re-issue of Skylab’s two albums. This marks the first time the music will be available digitally since their original release in the 1990s.
In the shadow of trip-hop’s rise in the mid-1990s, Skylab was formed as a supergroup of sorts comprising Japanese duo Love TKO, part of Mo’ Wax act Major Force, and UK producers Howie B and Mat Ducasse.
They released their debut, #1, in 1994 via L’Attitude Records and followed that up five years later with #2: 1999 (Large as Life and Twice as Natural). In both cases Skylab’s live experimentation – including guitars, synthesizers, Rhodes, sampling, and live dubbing – provided a counterpoint to the limp and predictable onslaught of downtempo hip-hop and electronic music that characterised much of that era.
The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones called their debut “one of the most slept-on records in the last 15 years,” the NME compared it to “like Jimi Hendrix playing Krautrock with an agitated Liam Howlett on mixing duties” and DJ Mag said it was simply “impossible to pigeonhole or categorise.”
In the press release for the re-issue, original band member Mat Ducasse underlines the group’s attempt at forging a sound that aimed to break the limited boundaries of the then popular trip-hop term: “One of the problems was that we were lumped in with trip hop when its much more expansive than that. I see it as outside of genre entirely. It has much more in common with collage music like things by Tod Dockstader, or soundtracks, the entire creative process was unique and inimitable.”
Their second album saw the departure of Howie B and his replacement by vocalist Debbie Sanders. Despite critical praise the album fell through the cracks of history due to the label, Sven Väth’s Eye Q, folding during the release.
You can pre-order both albums via Tummy Touch’s Bandcamp page. Both will be released on June 9 in CD and digital formats.
Hear #1‘s lead single ‘Seashell’ below.