Founded in 1987 by Stephen Lawrie. The Telescopes have been mining a unique anti-myopian seam of highly influential experimental, drone, noise, dream & psych for over 20 years.
Their first record was a split flex-disc with Loop on Cheree Records. After a further two critically acclaimed singles for the label, they moved to What Goes On Records, where they released another two EPs and their debut album “Taste”. All of which found their way to the top of the UK independent charts, gathering ‘single of the week’ / ‘album of the month’ status in all of the British music papers of the time.
Tours followed with Spacemen 3, Primal Scream and The Jesus and Mary Chain. And it wasn’t long before The Telescopes were headliners themselves. Bark Psychosis, Whipping Boy, Slowdive, Bleach, The Cranes and Ride all played some of their earlier shows supporting them. In 1990 the group appeared at one of the UK’s biggest festivals of the time, The Reading Festival. They were one of the few bands that weren’t bottled off the stage at the event. However, the increasing violent interactions with audiences at their shows saw the group step away from their noise origins and head towards a more introspective psychedelic sound. It was around this time that What Goes On folded and Alan McGee stepped in to release the group’s material from the hands of official receivership.
One of the more interesting bands that were signed to Creation Records. The group released their second album and a string of EPs for the label. Working with Douglas Hart (The Jesus and Mary Chain) on their videos, visual artist Paul Cannel on their sleeve work and Laika’s Guy Fixsen in the studio. The final EP for the label registered in the UK mainstream top 80 after being hit listed on BBC Radio 1 by Mark Goodyear. The group were also favoured by John Peel and recorded two BBC Radio 1 sessions for him. Marc Riley and Mark Radcliffe also had them in the studio for a session around the time of their 2nd album and MTV ran features. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis described The Telescopes as having “an almost fragile sense of elegance and melody”.
Then in 1992 the group underwent an eight year hiatus, resuming output in the year 2000 with a revolving line up. A stream of releases followed on labels such as Double Agent (USA), Trensmat (Ireland), Champion Version (UK), Antenna (UK), Norman Records (UK), Static Charge (UK), Mind Expansion (USA), Fourier Transform (UK), Textile Records (France), Dream Machine Records (UK) and Hungry Audio (UK). Most physical copies selling out in advance.
“The Telescopes have resurfaced and I am amazed and glad they are still practicing their mysterious art” (John Peel)
“An odd but by no means unwelcome return” (Q Magazine)
The Wire magazine described them as having “a very real & crazy originality that carries fat tons of wallop” and the NME found them “in another universe altogether, incredible”. Arch drude Julian Cope has also championed two of their releases on his Head Heritage site, referring to their “suspended-in-space magnificence”.
In 2011 they were invited by Portishead to play at the first ever ATP festival at Alexandre Palace in London. The following year The Black Angels / Reverberation Appreciation Society invited them to Austin Psych Fest 2012.
Following the release of their 7th LP, “Harm”, on Seattle-based label Neon Sigh, the group toured almost non stop over the following two years. Covering Scandinavia, Europe, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, the Ukraine, the UK, USA, the Middle East, and Ireland.
Meanwhile, The Telescopes have signed with Hamburg’s Tapete Records. A new album, “Hidden Fields”, The Telescopes 8th, is scheduled for release in August of 2015. Recorded in Glasgow, with St deluxe. “Hidden Fields” is an unexpected return from the group’s recent expeditions into the outer reaches of freedrone noise. The psychiatric sounds of The Telescopes in a concise inner sensory rush. This is their most song based output for some time.
“Every sound you ever heard was but a preliminary exercise in hearing, for the all embracing maelstrom of The Telescopes” (Melody Maker, 1989)
Keep a watchful ear …
8/10. Finest record for over a decade. Prepare to be pulverised.
Dom Gourlay. (Drowned In Sound).
8/10. The Telescopes endeavour to explore the subtle
relationships that exist between silence, noise and poetry.
Ilia Rogatchevski. (Louder Than War).
Somehow they sound more vital than they ever did.
Jeremy Allen. (The Quietus).
An empowering sense of fearlessness.
Paul Gleason. (Stereo Embers).
**** Uncompromising as ever.
james Oldham (Q Magazine).
7/10. The perfect needle. Pitched into the red every time.
Jon Dale. (Uncut).
3/5. Continue to get better with age.
Andrew Carden. (Mojo).
3.5/5. Demands to be listened to as a whole.
Andy Page. (God Is In The TV).
Veers into listening space like some second coming.
Mark Barton. (The Sunday Experience).
3/5. Unexpected astronomical event.
Phil Smith. (Record Collector).
8/10. In a world consumed by the scourge of‚ ‘polite rock‘
we need bands like The Telescopes more than ever before.
John Bittles. (Kultur Magazin).
What ‘psych’ should really sound like.
Rich Buley. (Echoes and Dust)
A truly magnificent adventure to a world of sonic abandonment.
Del Chaney. (Primal Music Blog).
A mighty head-nodder of an album.
Ludovic Hunter-Tilney. (The Financial Times)
An inner sensory blitz.
Ola’s Kool Kitchen. (Artrocker).
A fine, smooth trip to the dark side of beauty.
Anthony Strutt. (Pennyblackmusic).
Math-noise en route to the abyss.
Aldo Chimenti. (Rockarilla).
4/5. Strangely mesmerising and addictive.
Graeme Marsh. (Music OHM).
Their most addictive record since the nineties.
ZR. (Destroy/ /Exist). ALBUM OF THE MONTH.
An outstanding album.
Paula Michelle Hamilton. (Levitation Magazine).
If you love good dirty psyche,
this is one of the best releases of the year.
Jism. (Addict Culture).
A hypnotically sensorial experience.
Dominic Valvona. (Monolith Coctail).
Connects deep into the subconscious.
Paul Rigby. (The Audiophile Man).
4/5. Behold thy glorious racket.
Duncan Harman. (The Skinny).
9/10. Such a beautiful noise.
Sean Hewson. (Soundblab).
6/6. Beautiful, hypnotic, dark and full of paranoia.
Matthias Skeppstedt. (Gaffa).
10/10. Stonkingly good.
Leo Newbiggin. (Whisperinandhollerin).
7/10. Roars out there, like a hungry beast.
Franco Lys Dimaur. (Distorsioni)
A striking return (in every sense).
Raúl Julián. (Muzikalia).
80/100. An album worth listening to.
Wim Guillemyn. (Peek-a-boo Magazine)
A heady rush of devotional sonics.
3/5. Over 35 minutes of relentless cool.
Yves Weber. (éclat).
3.5 *. A complexity that jostles us to check on our being.
Such substance and uncompromising bleakness.
7.5. Demonstrates the good form The Telescopes still maintain.
A mesmerizing and addictive oeuvre.
TF. (Oh Fancy Blog).
9/10. Big cinema!
TN. (Hörerlebnis Magazin).
- 07/08/2015 - Stereo Embers Uk: The Telescopes — interview
04/08/2015 - FT Uk: Hidden Fields — review
03/08/2015 - Whisperinandhollerin Uk: Hidden Fields — review
27/07/2015 - Platten Test De: Hidden Fields — review
27/07/2015 - Penny Black Music Uk: Hidden Fields — review
15/07/2015 - The Skinny Uk: Hidden Fields — review