Hey Serpentina Satelite, Psychedelic Much???

Guess what these guys play...Sometimes the artwork tells you everything you need to know, and that’s more or less the case with Serpentina Satelite‘s Nothing to Say (Trip in Time). Billed as an EP, but with a length approaching 50 minutes, the Peruvian band’s five-track excursion capitalizes on the psychedelic, sonic swirl and organic earth mama nudity suggested by the cover. It is bright colors, late ’60s/early ’70s space tripping, with nine-minute opening track “Nueva Ola” acting as a sort of blast-off for what comes after, building a tension with wild drumming that lasts for most of the song’s duration.

They don’t appear immediately, but as the record progresses, Serpentina Satelite reveal more straightforward moments — even if that straightforwardness is relative. “Nothing to Say” is an appropriate title track, with exceedingly reverbed vocals and feedback wavelengths permeating an atmosphere driven forward through the cosmos by classic garage rock rhythms. A fuzzy guitar line opens up “The Last Drop,” the first of the album’s two tracks under the five minute mark. Somewhat less esoteric, if only for its lack of time to unfold, the centerpiece of Nothing to Say is peppered with echoey spoken word vocals and distant ambient guitar noise. If the mushrooms have kicked in yet, this is the track that lets you know you’re in total harmony with the universe.

“Madripoor” strikes with more aggression, and at three and a half minutes, is by far the closest thing to conventionality on the album — all things, of course, being relative. Its instrumenal, heady vibe piques images of the party scene in?Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, where there’s an undercurrent of darkness to what’s on the surface a melee of drugs, aspiration and senseless, ceaseless screwing. As a lead in for the 23-minute closer, “Kommune I,” it changes the mood of Nothing to Say some, but doesn’t strike as awkward in the slightest.

And kudos at last for Serpentina Satelite for having the gumptious fortitude to use all 23 minutes of that 23-minute run-time, not fading out and coming back for a secret track or just tacking silence on the end to give listeners some time to come down from whatever heights they’ve been able to chemically climb. Just as it opened without intro or fanfare, so “Kommune I” closes; a solar chomping freak jam on a head-first drive through a vast tunnel in which primary colors intersect and lead to the ravages of open space, cold and quiet.

It is music for the mind expanded, eschewing commonalities like structure and leaving considerations such as songcraft in a pile in the corner marked “Banal.” Nothing to Say is retro without the posturing, noisy without being abrasive and active without actually going anywhere it doesn’t need to go. A satisfying cut of South American experimentation from a band easily worth dropping out for.

This picture is fuzzy, like their rock.Serpentina Sat?lite website

Trip in Time

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One Response to “Hey Serpentina Satelite, Psychedelic Much???”

  1. […] Well, after a whole bunch of anti-virus crap, I think it’s almost good to go on this end and hopefully tomorrow this site will be able to pick up where it left off. I’ve got a back log of stuff now for reviews and interviews, so there will be plenty to see. In the meantime, here’s a video from Peruvian psych rockers Serpentina Satelite, whose album Nothing to Say was reviewed a while back. […]

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