Cartesian Jetstream are Ben Scott (drums & backing vocals), Philip Bell-Scott (bass & backing vocals) and Simon Kilgannon (guitars & vocals) who formed in the ‘deep south’ of Isle of Man in 2010.
Explaining how the band got together, Simon says “I was one of the two people who interviewed Ben for a job, exciting office IT stuff! The fact that he mentioned he played the drums has nothing to do with him getting the job. Ben and I played casually with a few people for years and then Phil just seemed to turn up as a gift from the lord and immediately learned all our songs and we were off.”
With influences ranging from Krautrock, Sonic Youth and Fugazi to Grateful Dead, Dylan, Jefferson Airplane and Funkadelic, Simon think that if Cartesian Jetsream had managed to make a record five or ten years ago “it would have been much more obviously influenced by whichever of the above I was currently digging the most but I think now it’s all been mashed down like bugs and jungle to make a less recognizable sludge of influences.”
The release of their first album ‘Sleep Over’ in late 2013 brought the band to the attention of The NME who described the opening track ‘My Captain’ as “superb” together with BBC 6 Music and Amazing Radio.
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‘Ancestors’ is the band’s second album and represents their take on pop music. The songs are direct, accessible and hooky with enough unpredicatability to ensure they take the listener to somewhere completely unexpected. Simon explains “I wanted to get the feel of how bands like the Beatles sounded in 65/66 when it was still quite groovy and beauty but just starting to go a bit weird and psychedelic in places – Invisible Ink is probably the best example of that. Kosmiche power pop? Easy listening freakbeat? Party music for introverts? Basically we’re trying to make a whole album that sounds like the faster section from the Doors’ track ‘L.A. Woman’ but with a (slightly) less drunk singer.”
The overrall sound is very influenced by early REM, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Smiths. with its chiming guitars and melodic bass lines. The tracks are all very high tempo and driven by the drums yet they maintain an unhurried tempo and glide along.
The unusual band name has its origins in Simon’s childhood. He explains “I grew up loving all those sixties Nuggets bands like the 13th Floor Elevators as well as the bands from the eighties who followed that up, like Echo & the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. The actual name is from a Lester Bangs article where he reviewed all these Count Five albums that never actually existed, he just dreamt them up. I think Cartesian Jetstream was supposed to be their third album. It’s a great piece and I love the idea of imaginary albums. I’d quite like us to be a semi-imaginary band, maybe we’ll achieve that one day.”