THE FINAL FRONTIER – Irish duo Telefis Release ‘Space Is Us’ Single, Featuring Sean O’Hagan

Space Is Us, one of the last pieces of music to feature Irish iconoclast Cathal Coughlan, is out now on all digital platforms via Dimple Discs.

The latest product of Coughlan’s prolific Telefis collboration with REM and U2 producer Jacknife Lee, it features a contribution from Sean O’Hagan.

O’Hagen and Coughlan were bandmates in Microdisney, before Couglan went on to form Fatima Mansions and O’Hagan The High Llamas.

It’s a taster for the second Telefis album a Do (no2) – the follow up to a hAon (no.1)- which was completed shortly before Coughlan’s death on May 18 of this year (2022).

A typically playful mix of disco, funk and post-punk, it sees the duo spreading wider afield from the Irish influence of the first album.

Coughlan’s typically astute lyrics reveal his ambivalent feelings towards our relationship with technology.

He references space as in space travel, but also the space around us, the spaces we live in and, perhaps most importantly, our own inner headspace.

‘Space Is Us’ cover art

Coughlan was clearly at the top of his game, even in the last few months of his life, his voice strong and his love of language shining through on this single.

Lee is quick to pay tribute.

“Cathal’s dying was always a part of these songs. Not literally, but his reflections and explorations of where he came from were examined from this perspective,” he explains.

“After his death we could have waited to release the album, and we accepted that we might have to, but now we just want to celebrate Cathal. I want people to know that he was active and working up to the last few days of his life. We were working on more Telefís – writing and planning.”

Beside O’Hagan the new album, set for release in October 7 features more star guests, including Echo & The Bunnymen songwriter and guitarist Will Sergeant, Mancunian post-punks A Certain Ratio and dub bass master Jah Wobble – who featured on the band’s earlier Falun Gong Dancer single.

There are many layers to Cathal Coughlan. The mischief, the tenderness, and the profound melancholy. It’s all here, and it’s some of his best work. Writing these songs during his illness knowing what lay ahead of him shows his commitment to words and ideas. It’s his life.

Jacknife Lee
  • Space Is Us feat. Sean O’Hagan is available on all digital platforms now.
  • ‘a Dó’ will be released on October 7, 2022 on CD/Cassette/Digital, with a special blue vinyl and poster out on Jan 20, 2023. For pre-orders visit here or the Telefis Bandcamp page
  • For more about Telefis catch up on Facebook, Twitter and  Instagram.  

About the author

Full time journalist, music lover (obvs) and truly terrible guitarist. You can find Matt on twitter @matcatch

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