Home / Local Music / Space Collector Saves the Future
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Space Collector Saves the Future

Google+ Pinterest Print
Imagine a dystopian future filled with killer robots and systems failures that are causing the world to crumble apart and dooming planet Earth. The only hope for the Earthling refugees is a ship orbiting the wreckage called the Space Collector, a machine that captures space debris and recycles it.

This is the sci-fi story created by the members of Space Collector about their namesake, a story that bass player Ed Osburg describes as "a mix between Exodus and 'Sanford and Son.'"

Osburg explains that he and his band mates "were all into late-'60s, early-'70s prog-rock, where a lot of the bands had fantasy and science fiction undertones. They were kind of a dark underbelly of the hippie movement," he says. "In a way they were the first punk bands, and we felt a link to some of their themes, like people being overcome with machinery and becoming androids."

The band began when Osburg and guitarist Chris Valenti parted ways with the drummer of their last band, Masonry, about a year ago. Patrick Haga of This Specific Dream offered to fill in the spot, and they soon added Miles Harbury as a second guitarist.

"That was really refreshing to me, to have the classical setup of Miles playing rhythm and Chris playing lead," Osburg says, adding that Harbury provides lead vocals while he and Valenti sing backup.

The metaphor of collecting and recycling space debris fits well with the band. In addition to prog-rock, a variety of other influences can be heard floating in their song structure, including psychedelic, punk, metal, desert rock and even jazz. It's a motley mix of Black Sabbath (they cover the classic Sabbath track "The Wizard"), Motörhead, Pink Floyd and Charles Mingus, with a touch of punk rock.

"There's no blueprint out there we're trying to follow as far as our sound," says Valenti, who cites some of his early guitar influences as Metallica and Led Zeppelin.

"We have stuff that is quieter or more dynamic than a complete face crush," Osburg says, adding that punk is still an influence on him. "I'm not trying to distance myself from punk music. Most everything I've done is punk because I believe once it's there, it's always there—it is your state of mind."

In addition to a vast array of music genres, sci-fi is a big influence on the band. At a recent practice the members discussed the works of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury. Song lyrics revolve around topics like space ("Flight of the Space Collector"), evolution ("From Fin to Foot") and other science themes.

Haga reveals that the quickening tempo and heavy sounds also have a more down-to-earth influence set in contemporary, familiar terrain. Although the band isn't overtly political or preachy, the atmosphere of Wisconsin politics has nonetheless shaped their mood and sound.

"Our music reflects how we react to things going on," Haga says. "We were all pretty pissed off about everything going on here politically, and I think we'd bring that to practice and be frustrated by that, and it would show up in our music—our riffs became heavier and faster. It was a release of that pent-up frustration."

"We became more brutal," Osburg adds.

Space Collector plays at the Riverwest Public House on July 16.