Free Agents is a new feature series where we shine the spotlight on an up-and-coming act who’s yet to have a proper release – at least, not one that we’re aware of, and yes, we know that the phrase “proper release” is a bit of a cloudy one these days – but that we think is onto something special regardless.
Artist: Standard Planets
Style: Cosmic / krautrock / experimental pop
Formed in the warehouses of east London, Standard Planets operate at the dangerous intersection between genteel kosmiche rock, primitive dream-pop and highfalutin prog, applying their multi-instrumental talents to all manner of experimental forms. And like their proto-kraut heroes Cluster, members Ben Webster, Robert Tubb and Ewan Fisher don’t look to British or American music for influence, but instead head for the stars, as they told the The Quietus last year.
The band first crossed my path at an unusual performance at London’s Cafe Oto, where they roped in friends to form a guitar orchestra (with drums) to bash out a primal and utterly ass-kicking rendition of ‘Mars, the Bringer of War’, the first movement Holst’s Planets suite. Ridiculous, yes, but so giddily grandiose that the usually reserved Oto crowd couldn’t hide their idiotic grins.
As well as sharing stages with most of the great and good of London’s experimental scene and beyond – including Factory Floor, Gold Panda and Alexander Tucker – the band recently worked with Arthur’s Landing, a collective of Arthur Russell’s former collaborators, on a version of a previously unheard track by the avant-disco godhead, ‘Dumbo Dumbo’.
For their second single, they teamed up with krautrock maestro and Klaus Schulze collaborator Harald Grosskopf to deliver the hypnotic cosmic-pop track ‘Ethernet’, while a mooted collaboration with Neu!’s Michael Rother is also in the pipeline. They’ve got plenty of their own songs too, mind – in fact, a whole album written and recorded in their Treehouse studio and in need of a label to give it a home.
Check out ‘Dumbo Dumbo’ and ‘Ethernet’ below and visit their Facebook for more information.