Pure Phase by Spiritualized – selected by Maria Lindén (I Break Horses)

A dedicated narrative from a traveller through sound and space. To me, this is one of the best Spiritualized records, where Jason Pierce not only secures his Spaceman nickname, but also it’s an album where he is not letting the listener off lightly. I remember being very intrigued by the seemingly endless space made up of all the magnificent noise, aggressive guitars and droney synthesizers weaving in and out of more ethereal strings and various pad sounds that made up the more song-like parts of this masterpiece.

Pure Phase gives me a feeling of liberation to mix songs and musical styles as well as instruments that, when you think of it, initially maybe should not fit that well when combined. But this album has surely proven it’s possible to extend that scope.

The rumbling ‘Medication’ and ethereally beautiful ‘The Slide Song’ build up a druggy and psychedelic album introduction, a feeling immediately replaced by the roaring ‘Electric Phase’, before it takes yet another turn into one of my all time favourite hymns, ‘All Of My Tears’.

And so it goes on all through the album. Various drones, sustained effects, strings, synths, organs, angelic choirs, muffled drums, melodic bass and Spaceman’s voice that, despite being mixed to a more washed out element, never fails to bring a significant level of vulnerability and desperate wit to the songs.

I do remember not being much of a fan of the jazzier parts in songs like ‘Take Good Care Of It’ and the bluesy harmonica on tracks like ‘Good Times’. But after enough time spent with the album it all started to make much more sense to me. Especially with the instrumental interlude tracks, as well as uncompromisingly long outros and intros, acting as a creative and forgiving adhesive gluing everything together.

I guess it works as a catharsis for me. Giving me an important feeling of freedom not having to make album-sense while creating my own sketches and songs. And if I ever get stuck, I can always put on ‘Let It Flow’.