Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Space Cossacks - Live at the Foothill Club July 10, 1998dotdotdotdot
artworkThis fine ambient recording by Jay Hector captures much of the live energy of one of the hottest modern surf bands, the Space Cossacks. They are a fine band, and the intensity of their sound is immense. See 'em if you can.
Picks: Red Sunrise, Solaris Stomp, War of the Satellites, Metsakukkia, Black Sand, Escape from Gulag 17, The Cossack, The Spy Satellite, Gunmetal Express, Shark Attack, The Space Victory Theme, Mir Rescue, Third Star To The Left, The Cossack Rocket Patrol, The Savage, Bittersweet Samba, Moroccan Adventures, Transatlantic Orbit, Neutron Sabre, Bombora, Planet of the Apes

Track by Track Review

Red Sunrise dotdotdotdot
Depression Fluff (Instrumental)

This is a masterpiece of morphology, from the gloomy mindset of Joy Division to the froth of supermarket swill with surf tones and impossible Lawrence Welk-isms.

Solaris Stomp dotdotdot
Billboard Fluff (Instrumental)

Commercial pomp gone awry, and they seem serious. Think Billy Vaughn doing "Mr. Moto." Yikes.

War of the Satellites dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Live, this is better than the CD version, or the Ventures hokey version of this Danny Hamilton tune, but then that's not tough to do. Aside from being a dumb gimmicky tune, this is hotly played and arranged. I just don't like this tune.

Metsakukkia dotdotdot
Lounge Lizard Suave (Instrumental)

Like an interpretation of west coast jazz from the pages of Beachwear Daily, comes this unbelievable bit of vibes laden fluff. It is the inverse of reality, mirrored by the rubber room. Swimming and MOR exotica cute.

Black Sand dotdotdot
Dinner Music (Instrumental)

Yup, the hits just keep on comin'. There's no shortage of piano bar thinking as they romp through this delightful dinner music.

Escape from Gulag 17 dotdotdotdot
Theater Snack (Instrumental)

This is surprisingly close to the Hot Butter rendition, only more so... maybe like a frothy "Miss You" (Rolling Stones) played at the laundromat. Jeepers!

The Cossack dotdotdotdot
Pulchritudinal Viewing (Instrumental)

When this appeared in the television commercial, it tantalized. When the T-Bones did this, it sucked. Now, it wreaks of CTI jazz on the verandah while the snobs hob knob in a credibility free zone.

The Spy Satellite dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow slightly sad Danny Hamilton melody, shimmering sounds, and a very cohesive performance, with twinges of conquistadors, give this a stalking and somewhat ominous edge, and create an espionage atmosphere.

Gunmetal Express dotdotdot
Cool Pop (Instrumental)

Whining guitar slides, and a spirited, almost credible arrangement, and hinting of the hits gone by we all love to hate. Actually, this is among the better tracks, more surfable, though only in that sidestep Ventures way.

Shark Attack dotdotdot
Retirement Rock (Instrumental)

Inspired by a mustached interlude and a carafe of house red, this floats along looking for a sane way out. There isn't one.

The Space Victory Theme dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is really cool, sorta like a middle eastern "Solaris Stomp," but not really. It has marvelous rhythms, and splendid guitar tones. Mighty infectious, and totally cool. These guys understand the power of changes in instros, and the power of fills and accents. This is a fine and unusual track.

Mir Rescue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Frothy and friendly, this is a pleasant diversion from the other tracks here, It demonstrates the versatility of this band. The rich textures and exquisite playing show just how powerfully good writing and performance can take a relatively MOR structure and make it truly magnetic.

Third Star To The Left dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This cover of the amazing Nocturnes' early space epic inspired by "Journey To The Stars" goes beyond the original in zest.

The Cossack Rocket Patrol dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Meadowlands," under any name remains a fine melody. The Space Cossacks give it their signature sound, with fine double picking and splendid tones.

The Savage dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A variation on the Atlantics interpretations of the Shadows. That's a mouthful, but I think it describes well what has been done with this track, using the Australian edge on an English band's version of a strong tune. Smooth and energetic, but not very dynamic. Solid and interesting.

Bittersweet Samba dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Herb Alpert's "Bittersweet Samba" never sounded so inviting. This is utterly enjoyable, with unusual rhythms and spicy guitar licks. You can just imagine the trumpets, but alas you're spared the experience. Melodic and fun.

Moroccan Adventures dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Light plucky percussive damped reverbed rhythms, middle eastern spices, emotional tremolo, and fluid sounds make this a particularly nice mood piece.

Transatlantic Orbit dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very Atlantics sounding, right down to the lead guitar delay, but with a smoother more surfy feel. Really nice tribute to a relatively unknown (in the U. S.) Australian band of a bygone era. The writing is very good. The sense of melody is is all important in instros, and the strength of the melody writing in this band is clearly demonstrated here, and throughout this CD.

Neutron Sabre dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Intense lead guitar twang! The guitar tone owns you. This is as good as "Solaris Stomp." A bit of the Spanish influence, and off-the-scale infectiometer readings. Very rich tone.

Bombora dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An Atlantics cover, one of their thrashiest tunes. Very intense and hyper-rhythmic. The lead guitar tone is right on the money! The damped chops are too cool, as are the intense stinging licks!

Planet of the Apes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Power double picking and slaughterhouse energy create a demarcation line between this and other dark surf rants. It's very strong and dramatic.