A talk with Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier before the masters of space age bachelor pad music go on hiatus. Super electric analogue sounds!
Stereolab’s self-styled space age bachelor pad music was a defining UK underground sound of the 90s. Leaning towards the harmonious melodies of their shoe-gazing peers, but taking a bold step away with their actively political lyrics and Krautrock flirtings, this was a band drenched in stylistic musical experiment and youthful engagement. The core members were lovers Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier. Tim provided the trademark hypnotic rhythm track, Laetitia the mesmerizingly wistful vocals. They relied heavily on forgotten methods of recording, analogue synthesizers and hi-fi test records to create their atmosphere of nostalgia. They were joined, on and off, by around fifteen others in the course of their career, but other core members included Mary Hansen and Andy Ramsay, who joined for the Low Fi EP. A couple of years later, and ‘The Groop’ (as they were fondly called by their fans), now reaching cult underground status in the UK, formed their own label, Duophonic, and were regularly name checked by Sonic Youth, Pavement and Blur. Stereolab experimented with their sound on many more albums over the next decade, introducing intricate string arrangements and demonstrating influences from hip hop to jazz, but in 2009 the band announced an indeterminate hiatus, leaving Laetitia Sadier and the other members to pursue their own musical directions.