It was my return journey to The Sound Garden in the beery Fell’s Point section of Baltimore, and in addition to an Al B. Sure in store performance (it was wrapping up just as I walked in and I got a hug from him as he was leaving the makeshift stage), I happened upon the self-titled album by Californian experimentalists Journey to Ixtlan. It’s one of few albums I’ve purchased in recent history that when I found it was both brand new and totally unrecognized. If I’m going to take a chance on something, usually it’s used and cheaper. Journey to Ixtlan (Aurora Borealis) set me back $18, and for that reason, I’m not going to give it a full review. Not fair to anyone who sends me records for free.
Nonetheless, as a bit of buried treasure, Journey to Ixtlan bridges the long gap between pre-”Los” Natas and SunnO))), with a dark Southwestern drone permeated by chants and distant instrumentation. Not that I knew that at the time. All I knew was what I read on the sticker on the front of the digipak (which I fortunately found came from the label’s website), and it went as follows:
Riding out of the desert like the ghosts of future past in a dune buggy powered by dreams come Journey to Ixtlan. Totally heavy, very psychedelic, and utterly sun kissed this is the sound of New Age Doom & Occult Desert Rock. Journey to Ixtlan are an anonymous badass rock band of desert dwellers, in some cases living outside the law at the very margins of society, who converge infrequently to render their physical surroundings in psychotropic sound. Their heavy sound owes as much to Doom Metal as it does to Psychedelia, as much to Now as it does to Then, as guitar, bass, drums, keys and vocal chants intertwine like shamanic smoke.
They trimmed out some of the stuff about purported philosophical connections to Carlos Castaneda‘s 1972 book of the same name (Castaneda being a pupil of Don Juan Matus — taken as a moniker by a Peruvian desert rock band), but honestly, after reading, “Riding out of the desert like the ghosts of future past in a dune buggy powered by dreams,” there was no way I wasn’t going to buy this record. I also got Demons and Wizards by Uriah Heep. No regrets.
If you want to check out Journey to Ixtlan for yourself and see if they’re worth $18 of your hard-earned, you can do so at this location.
Tags: Aurora Borealis, Journey to Ixtlan, Maryland, Record Shopping