Son Raw wrote this.
Never would I have thought that I’d be writing two eulogies for Hyperdub artists in one year, but fate is cruel and reality is harsh. The Spaceape was of course, a brilliant poet and by all accounts, an incredible live performer before his battle against cancer denied us of his talents on stage. I unfortunately never had the opportunity to catch him live with Kode9, and so I’ll mostly remember him through their two albums together. Memories of the Future saw him decelerating things down to a skunk like crawl, and might be the album that most realized Dubstep’s potential connection to it’s dub origins. Kode9’s beats played a large part in this, refracting Jamaican music as cold, English paranoia, but it was Spaceape’s looming presence, a seemingly alien baritone delivering dread indictments of the Blair/Bush era that glued the album together. Even when he was reciting Prince, the impact was heavy enough to incite paralysis.
Black Sun was a tougher sell, embracing UKFunky’s drum patterns and energy just as that genre was burning out, but once again, Spaceape shined, this time imbuing the record with its sci-fi narrative. In hindsight, it stands out as a particularly DIFFERENT record, one determined to reject the stasis and stagnation Dubstep had fallen victim to in favour of new possibilities. As fans, that’s the hardest part: how many records were we robbed of? Hearing Spaceape over Kode9’s interpretation of Juke, or over new Grime and club mutations would have opened countless musical possibilities, but sadly – that just wasn’t in the cards.
Passion of the Weiss’ condolences go out to the whole Hyperdub family. To our readers who may not be familiar with his work, here’s a few of The Spaceape’s highlights.