Flying Saucer Attack is an English experimental space rock band that formed in Bristol, England in 1992. David Pearce was the core member of the group, and Rachel Brook (of Movietone, another Bristol band) was a member for most of the band's lifetime.
Drawing on sources such as krautrock, folk, and dream pop, the group referred to their DIY sound as "rural psychedelia" and were associated with bands of the contemporary post-rock and shoegazing scene. FSA were able to create a small but enthusiastic fanbase, and were notable for recording most of their output at home, avoiding recording studios.
Early releases were limited edition vinyl 7" singles, often in handmade packaging. The first album (self-titled, but sometimes called Rural Psychedelia as those words appear on the cover) included a noisy cover of Suede's contemporary single "The Drowners", which provoked press interest in the record. The Third Eye Foundation (Matt Elliott) played bongos, drums, programming and clarinet, & guitar on some tracks. Like the early singles, the album was released on FSA's own label by Heartbeat Productions, and was deliberately only made available on vinyl. Also like the singles it sold out quickly despite minimal publicity, due to the band's cult reputation. The album was released in the United States by VHF Records in early 1994, on CD and vinyl – the CD bore the legend "compact discs are a major cause of the breakdown of society" (other releases would carry messages such as "keep vinyl alive", "home taping is reinventing music" and "less is more").
By 1994, the band had signed to Domino Records (which became home to many of the bands from Bristol's experimental music scene), and although records continued to be released on vinyl, CDs usually accompanied Pearce's preferred format. The first release for the new label was Distance, which collected the early singles and some unreleased material. Over the next three years the band released two albums and further singles including a cover of Wire's "Outdoor Miner", and a version of the folk song "Sally Free and Easy" which was initially only released on CD – the sleevenote explained that the pressing plant had been unable to cut it to vinyl (a US plant later achieved the feat by using a monaural master and it was issued on 12" by Drag City). Another singles compilation followed alongside an album consisting of live tracks (mainly unstructured noise, released by Bruce Russell's Corpus Hermeticum imprint) and an LP with two long tracks constructed by fellow Domino act Tele:Funken from samples of the band. In 1995 Brook left the band to concentrate on Movietone. Chorus had a sleeve note in which it was stated that "This album marks the end of FSA phase one". Subsequent releases (New Lands was described as "phase two") did not depart from the usual mixture of aggressive feedback and noise, and gentle folk-influenced melody.
In 1999, the "phase 2" version of Flying Saucer Attack accepted an invitation to participate in a tribute album to Moby Grape co-founder Skip Spence, who was dying of lung cancer. More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album was released by Birdman Records that year.
After New Lands and a final vinyl-only 7" single, Pearce left Domino Records – one further album was released in 2000 on Pearce's own FSA Records, and this effectively marked the end of the group for the next 15 years. Pearce subsequently collaborated with Jessica Bailiff under the name 'Clear Horizon', a self-titled album being released on Kranky in 2003.
After a 15-year hiatus, in 2015, Flying Saucer Attack announced a new LP, titled Instrumentals 2015, which was a given a release date of 17 July 2015.
Albums and compilations
- Flying Saucer Attack (FSA, 1993)
- Distance (singles compilation) (1994)
- Further (1995)
- Chorus (compilation) (1995)
- Distant Station (FSA samples arranged by Tele:Funken) (1996)
- In Search of Spaces (live tracks from 1994) (Corpus Hermeticum, 1996)
- New Lands (1997)
- Mirror (FSA, 2000)
- PA Blues (CD-R compilation of live and rehearsal tracks) (2004)
- Heartbeat/Complete (compilation of singles/rarities) (Weltraum Disk, 2012)
- Instrumentals 2015 (Domino Records,2015)
Singles and EPs
- "Soaring High" (FSA, 1992)
- "Wish" (FSA, 1993)
- "Crystal Shade" (FSA, 1994)
- "Land Beyond the Sun" (1994)
- "Beach Red Lullaby" (1995)
- "Outdoor Miner" (1995)
- "At Night" (split 7" with Jessamine) (1996)
- "Sally Free and Easy" (1996)
- "Goodbye" (featuring Roy Montgomery) (1997)
- "Coming Home" (1997)
- "Since When" on Harmony of the Spheres (Drunken Fish, 1996)
- More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album (Birdman, 1999)
- Chamber Music – James Joyce 1907 (2008) (Various artists; compilation of James Joyce's poems put to music)
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