Back in the nineties the future seldom sounded as exciting as it did in the hands of an avant-pop band from London. With their progressive, rhythmical, monotonous and Moog-magical blend of kraut and exotica, Stereolab didn’t really have that many points of contact with shoegaze, had even less in common with britpop, they sort of existed in their own little musical universe (though bands such as The High Llamas and Tortoise could perhaps be categorized as soulmates).
Many people seem to consider that the band, led by Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier, reached their peak 1996–1997 with milestones such as Emperor Tomato Ketchup and Dots And Loops. About the last album Pitchfork wrote: ”A band that started in the midst of CD mania by obsessing over pop’s analog past reached their peak six years later by embracing the bleeding edge of digital studio technology”. In 2002 Stereolab experienced a tragedy when member Mary Hansen (guitar, keyboard, percussion, background vocals) was killed in a traffic accident. Seven years later they chose to go on an indefinite hiatus, however this summer they’ll perform their first shows in a decade. Very thrilling, of course, and most welcome. Their records still don’t sound like anything else and feel just as modern now as they did when they were released.