Underground Film Journal

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Bailter Space: Two Music Videos

By Mike Everleth ⋅ September 19, 2007

I’m not prone to putting up just random music videos on the Underground Film Journal, but Bailter Space is my all-time favorite band. Hell, I think they’re the greatest band in the history of the universe. Plus, I think these are two really good videos and fit the whole underground film vibe of the site.

Which is all kinda funny because way back in the mid-’90s a friend of mine (Hi, Joe!) saw them live and from his description of their show — something along the lines of “shoegaze-y and the loudest band ever” — they sounded like something I’d like. So, I bought the first CD I found by them, Vortura, which was their fourth album and absolutely loathed it, which I’m not really sure why now. I threw the CD into the back of my collection where it hid for about year until I was digging for something different to listen to, so I thought I’d give it another shot and the rest is love at second listening.

Bailter Space performing on a New York City sidewalk

I can kinda understand why I didn’t like them at first. Whereas the heavy, distorted pulsating feedback in a maniacal repetition shakes me to my inner core now, it was probably a little hard to handle the first go-round. I particularly like how the band’s Wikipedia entry describes Vortura as their “most menacing album,” which it is. It’s so heavy it drowns you in a sea of sonic oblivion. Their two subsequent albums, Wammo and Capsul, are much more poppy and light. Capsul is probably my favorite out of ’em all.

The band originally hails from New Zealand where they are carried on the Flying Nun label. Unfortunately, here in the states, they were originally released on Matador, who has since dropped them from their catalog, and their second distributor, Turnbuckle Records, quit the business in 2002. So, Bailter Space’s albums are no longer currently in print in the U.S., which is the crime of the millenium. You can still buy them used and new from Amazon sellers, so that explains the album links throughout this post.

Bailter Space was also thought to have broken up after their last original album, 2004’s Solar.3, but their MySpace profile, which I think is run by an uber-fan, says Alister Parker (guitar, vocals) and Brent McLachlan (percussion) are currently working on new material. God, I hope so.

And these are great videos. The first is “Splat” off of Wammo. It was directed by Julie Hermelin and it’s a one-take affair all done in reverse that’s cool as all hell. And the second video is “X,” which is one of the only mellow songs on Vortura. It’s a mix of B&W and color footage with old-school experimental film scratches and other visual distortions. I think you’ll enjoy.

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