Mercator Projection, aka The Church (almost) – “Space Bootleg”

mercatorLike a transmission from deep space, the slow-build intro to a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” emerges like a slowly expanding super nova. Then everything bursts into stars and we’re off on a glorious space rock odyssey. It’s the first track on Space Bootleg, a new all-too-under-the-radar live release by the Church. Okay, it’s technically not the Church – though it is 3/4 of the band (minus guitarist Peter Koppes) with the addition of musicians Jordan Brebach and William Bowden.

Going by the name Mercator Projection, this was a one-off show recorded on Dec. 23, 2006 at The Basement in Sydney, Australia. Having sat in the vaults since then, Church singer/songwriter/bassist Steve Kilbey has released a digital-only version of the majority of the show through his Bandcamp site.

If you like the Church when they get psychedelic and experimental (as I do), this collection of covers of Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and Deep Purple- along with a smattering of originals like a 16 minute version of “Magician Among the Spirits”- is for you. Piloting their instruments through strange kaleidoscopic galaxies of sound, it’s a magical performance.

With the recent release by the Church of the DVD/CD set Psychedelic Symphony (itself another live career highlight), it’s a shame Space Bootleg is getting a bit lost and overshadowed. It’s deserving of greater attention.  Put your headphones on, hop into your silver machine and set the controls for the heart of the sun.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jacques says:

    After procrastinating on this one (“maybe it’ll get a physical release, and maybe they’ll sell it at their merch tables, maybe..”) I picked it up just the other week. While the slow burning start of the set takes a good 10 minutes of burbling synths and god knows what else before the actual song takes off, I am really enjoying this release. I look at it as a companion to the Box of Birds covers album…and I’m really loving their version of “Set Your Controls for the Heart of the Sun”.

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