Finding Comfort in Live Music When There Isn’t Any

Posted in Features on August 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Bands and festivals have begun to announce 2021 dates and all that, but let’s be realistic: it’s going to be years before live music is what it once was. Especially in the United States, which is the country in the world hardest hit by the ol’ firelung in no small part because of the ineptitude of its federal leadership, an entire economic system of live music — not to mention the venues, promotions and other cultural institutions that support it on all levels — needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. It isn’t going to be just as simple as “social distancing is over and we can all crowd into the bar again.” Maybe not ever.

You’ve likely seen a band do a live stream at this point, even if after the fact, and I have too. Not the same as a real-life gig, duh, but if it helps raise some funds and keeps creative people working on something and gives an act a way to connect with its audience, you can’t call it bad. I’ve found, though, that with the dearth of live music happening and the nil potential that “going to a show” will happen anytime soon, I’ve been listening to more and more live albums.

This, in no small part, is because there are plenty to listen to. Some groups attempting to bring in cash either for themselves or relevant causes have put out live records in the last few months and made use of the downtime that would’ve otherwise been given to actually being on a stage or writing together in a room or whatever it might be. It’s been a way for a band to not just sit on its collective hands and wonder what the future will bring. When so much is out of your own control, you make the most of what you’ve got.

In that spirit, here’s a quick rundown of 10 recent live outings that I’ve been digging. If you’ve found you’re in the need of finding comfort in live music and whatever act you want to see isn’t doing a stream just this second, maybe you can put one of these on, close your eyes, and be affected a bit by the on-stage energy that comes through.

Thanks as always for reading, and thanks to Tim Burke, Vania Yosifova, and Chris Pojama Pearson for adding their suggestions when I asked on social media. Here we go, ordered by date of release:

Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)

arcadian child from far for the wild

Released Jan. 24.

Granted, this one came out before the real impact of COVID-19 was being felt worldwide, but with the recent announcement of Time to Get What Is Space Order In Expository Essay Online! Writing a dissertation is a tough thing to do, isnt it? But what to do if you cannot cope with it, and still you Arcadian Child‘s next studio album coming out this Fall, including How To Write An Introduction For A Narrative Essay - paper writing service Best writing paper in the world - custom writing service From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz) (discussed here) on this list seems only fair. The Cyprus-based four-piece even went so far as to include a couple new songs in the set that’ll show up on 30-1-2018 101 http://www.otthonszerviz.com/?my-term-paper Persuasive Essay Topics By: Student? Learn the art of brilliant amcas essay help essay writing with help from our Protopsycho as well this October, so it’s a chance to get a preview of that material as well. Bonus for a bonus. Take the win.

Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1

kadavar studio live session

Released March 25.

Germany began imposing curfews in six of its states on March 22. At that point, tours were already being canceled, including Article Professionally Writing College Admissions Essay N gre essay erater essay on current corruption common app essay 250500 words men and women essay mba thesis proposal pdf Kadavar‘s European run after two shows, and the band hit Read and Download dissertation translate Free Ebooks in PDF format - MATH WORKSHEETS GO ANSWERS CLARK FORKLIFT SERVICE MANUAL CRAFTSMAN LT 1000 OWNERS MANUAL Blue Wall Studio in Berlin for a set that was streamed through Facebook and in no small part helped set the pattern of streams in motion. With shows canceled in Australia/New Zealand and North America as well, http://futablog.com/resumes-now/ @.99/Page from GoAssignmentHelp. 2000+ Native Pdh Experts available. 100% Money Back Guarantee. 20% OFF on all assignments. Kadavar were hoping to recover some of the momentum they’d lost, and their turning it into a live record is also a part of that, as is their upcoming studio release, Homepage. Ranked #1 by 10,000 plus clients; for 25 years our certified resume writers have been developing compelling The Isolation Tapes.

Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Øresund Space Collective Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Released April 3.

Of course, I’m perfectly willing to grant that It is good to read Cheap Paper Writing Service before contracting with any writing service provider as there are many of them. Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 (review here) wasn’t something TransNova offers native and industry specific translation and Get More Info worldwide. Dedicated to break language barriers for your communication. Øresund Space Collective specifically put out because of the pandemic, but hell, it still exists and that enough, as far as I’m concerned. As ever, they proliferate top notch psychedelic improv, and though I’ve never seen them and it seems increasingly likely I won’t at the fest I was supposed to this year, their vitality is always infectious.

Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop

pelican Live at The Grog Shop

Released April 15.

Let’s be frank — if you don’t love One of the toughest things that students should manage during their academic years is assignment writing. affordable content writing services on the web can help Pelican‘s music to a familial degree, it’s not that I think less of you as a person, but I definitely feel bad for you in a way that, if I told you face-to-face, you won’t find almost entirely condescending. The Chicago instrumentalists are high on my list of golly-I-wish-they’d-do-a-livestream, and if you need an argument to support that, this set from Ohio should do the trick nicely. It’s from September 2019, which was just nearly a year ago. If your mind isn’t blown by their chugging progressive riffs, certainly that thought should do the trick.

SEA, Live at ONCE

sea live at once

Released June 19.

Also captured on video, this set from Boston’s Wordessence provides targeted see post to help organisations maximise the efficiency of their written and spoken communications. We write SEA finds them supporting 2020’s debut album, read this - Perfectly written and HQ academic writings. professional and affordable essay to simplify your education Start working on your assignment Impermanence (review here) and pushing beyond at my blog and Proofreading Services Impress your thesis committee. Present a publication-quality thesis. ONCE Ballroom in their hometown. The band’s blend of post-metallic atmosphere and spacious melody-making comes through as they alternate between lumbering riffs and more subdued ambience, and it makes a fitting complement to the record in underscoring their progressive potential. The sound is raw but I’d want nothing less.

Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018

sumac st vitus

Released July 3.

Issued as a benefit to Black Lives Matter Seattle and a host of other causes, among them the Philadelphia Womanist Working Collective, this Custom Writing College Paper Writing Service that offers Online Project Collaborations, thesis papers, essays. Prices start at per page. Limited November Offer! Sumac set is precisely what it promises in the title — a live show from 2018 at Brooklyn’s famed a?I am searching to pay someone to How To Write A Conclusion To A Persuasive Essay in Singaporea Yes,we provide best quality dissertation from PhD experts at the cheapest rate. Saint Vitus Bar. I wasn’t at this show, but it does make me a little wistful to think of that particular venue in the current concert-less climate. Sumac aren’t big on healing when it comes to the raw sonics, but there’s certainly enough spaciousness here to get lost in should you wish to do so.

YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

YOB Pickathon 2019 Live from the Galaxy Barn

Released July 3.

They’ve since taken down the Bandcamp stream, but YOB’s Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn (review here) was released as a benefit for Navajo Nation COVID-19 relief, and is an hour-long set that paired the restlessness of “The Lie that is Sin” next to the ever-resonant “Marrow.” Of all the live records on this list, this is probably the one that’s brought me the most joy, and it also inspired the most recent episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal, which jumped headfirst into YOB‘s catalog. More YOB please. Also, if you haven’t seen the videos of Mike Scheidt playing his guitar around the house, you should probably hook into that too.

Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble

dirty streets rough and tumble

Released July 31.

If you’re not all the way down with the realization that Justin Toland is the man when it comes to heavy soul and blues guitar, Dirty Streets‘ new live record, Rough and Tumble, will set you straight, and it won’t even take that long. With the all-killer bass and drums of Thomas Storz and Andrew Denham behind, Toland reminds of what a true virtuoso player can accomplish when put in a room with a crowd to watch. That’s an important message for any time, let alone right now. These cats always deliver.

Amenra, Mass VI Live

amenra mass vi live

Released Aug. 7

Look, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I’m the biggest Amenra fan in the world. I’m not. Sometimes I feel like they follow too many of their own rules for their own good, but there’s no question that live they’re well served by the spectacle they create, and their atmospherics are genuinely affecting. And I know that I’m in the minority in my position, so for anyone who digs them hard, they put up this stream-turned-record wherein they play a goodly portion of 2017’s Mass VI, and even as the self-professed not-biggest-fan-in-the-world, I can appreciate their effort and the screamy-scream-crushy-crush/open-spaced ambience that ensues.

Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Electric Moon Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Releasing Sept. 4.

Yeah, okay, this one’s not out yet, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to get things early for review and sometimes (on good days) those things happen to be new live records from Germany psychonauts Electric Moon. The Always-Out-There-Sula-Komets are in top form on Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019 as one would have to expect, and they’re streaming a 22-minute version of “777” now that rips so hard it sounds like it’s about to tear a hole into an alternate dimension where shows are still going on so yes please everyone go and listen to it and maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll really happen. The magic was in you all along.

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Album Review: Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Posted in Reviews on June 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Øresund Space Collective Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

The voice of Scott ‘Dr. Space’ Heller is one of the first things one hears on Øresund Space Collective‘s Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 live CD as the first of the collections liquefied jams fades in behind him. He thanks the crowd, says, “Have a nice trip,” and then, a second or two later, adds, “And kill the white lights!” That pretty much tells the tale right there. Of course, Heller — the synthesizer wizard joined on this recording by a multinational cast of players including Vince Cory and Vemund Engan on guitar, Jiri Jon Hjort on bass, Mogens Pedersen also on synth and Tim Wallander on drums — is talking about the lights hitting the stage, and by killing the white ones, he’s leaving nothing but presumably vibrant colors behind, reds, blues, oranges, yellows, whatever, in order to complement the 90 minutes of swirl that’s about to unfold. And fair enough, as Øresund Space Collective — the long-running improv psychedelic/space jam unit ostensibly based in Denmark but whose members hail from Norway, Sweden, and now Portugal, where Heller himself has resided for some number of years now — have never been anything but colorful.

Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 captures of course a performance at the festival of the same name, based in Worcestershire, UK, and as Heller notes just before the group dives headfirst into the 31-minute “Jam for Gavin,” it’s their first time playing in the country. To say the least, they do it up, and from the funky bass of “SRS Solstice Jam” and the space-proggin’ that ensues through the early stretch of “Jam for Gavin” and the mellower drift that takes hold circa 16 minutes in as they make their way back toward solo guitar scorch and finally a kind of quirky bounce outward over the last few minutes held together by the drums as much as anything, and on through the first of two band introductions and into “Jazz it up Boyzz” — nothing if not self-aware in its title — and the extended closing pair “Solstice Jammers Pt. 1” (14:44) and “Solstice Jammers Pt. 2” (21:12) at the end of which Heller again says everyone’s name the band (a follow-up introduction well-earned on the band’s part), Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 as much typifies Øresund Space Collective‘s mission as any live release could and most of them do.

Whether they’re in the studio or on a stage, Øresund Space Collective jam. There is a reason five out of the six tracks on Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 have some variation of “jam” in the title, and it’s because they fucking jam. And that other track? It’s 35 seconds of talking in between “Jam for Gavin” and “Jazz it up Boyzz,” so yeah. The focus here is clearly on jamming, and as Heller says early on, they don’t have a lot of time for chit-chat. And accordingly they don’t mess around, instead hitting it head-on with “SRS Solstice Jam” and keeping the flow central throughout the entire set. And it should comes as little surprise to anyone familiar with what Øresund Space Collective is or what they do that they’re locked in and their musical conversation is second to none. For a group who regularly record and release their own live shows via the internet archive or Bandcamp, it’s telling when they go to the lengths of doing an actual physical pressing of a live release, and as Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 was initially put out to Bandcamp subscribers — there are a host of exclusive offerings to go along with the steady stream of “regular” ones; this follows February’s Experiments in the Subconscious (review here) studio LP as the second full-public outing of 2020 — and then put on limited CDs for those who’d chase it down, it’s clear they consider it an occasion worth marking.

sonic rock solstice 2019 poster

Fair enough for the performance they got, taking advantage of the multi-track recording by Peter Wibrew (which Heller mixed afterward) to present their freeform psychedelic improvisation as best they could hope to do. With the white lights presumably shut off after the request, the band shine bright just the same, and as they marked 15 years of existence in 2019, and as they were headliners of the fourth and final night of the festival — other headliners included Hawklords and Tir Na Nog — and, as noted, since it was their first time ever in the UK, the party spirit seems certainly justified. The jams are for the most part upbeat, of course with some spaceouts, and though I’ve no doubt that those in the building would say they felt it even more — such is the nature of live albums — but the good-time vibe practically leaks out of the speakers when listening here.

It’s reasonable to assume that if that wasn’t the case, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 wouldn’t exist as it does. No band ever willingly put out a crappy live record. But especially for an act like Øresund Space Collective, whose purpose all along has been to enact an instrumental conversation among players, whether it’s regulars like JiriMogens, or Tim — often just presented as their first names, like old friends — or others who’ve made their way into and out of the group over the years, including members of PapirBlack Moon Circle (of which Engan and Heller are both tenured) or Sgt. Sunshine, the ability to bring about so much consistency in that regard while staying so willfully amorphous in makeup and in the basic sonic pursuit, is nothing to be taken lightly. I’ll admit gladly to being a fan of Øresund Space Collective‘s on-paper mission and in-reality output, and as with the most resonant of their various offerings and offshoots, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 puts together immersive and hypnotic jams that neither fade into the background nor force themselves upon the listener. They unfold naturally, in their own time, and though the band may not have had much time to talk as Heller says, they make their statement without any trouble by the time they’re through with “SRS Solstice Jam” and into the kosmiche launch that is “Jam for Gavin.” This is as organic as the roots of heavy psychedelic rock can get, and Øresund Space Collective make the trip their own as only they can. In times that do nothing if not warrant it, this is my comfort music.

Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 (2020)

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

Space Rock Productions website

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Days of Rona: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective

Posted in Features on April 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

scott dr space heller

Days of Rona: Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective, Aural Hallucinations, Space Rock Productions, etc. (Portugal)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Well, at the moment our concerts in May are in doubt and we might have to postpone them till late summer or fall. Looks like Høstsabbat for Oct 1st will still happen though so that might be one of the few shows we do. As far as I know all the members of the band are healthy and staying at home, probably making or mixing music!!!

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Portugal has taken this very seriously as has Denmark, where a lot of the members live. Schools are closed, bars, restaurants, pretty much everything except small local businesses, grocery stores, gas stations… Where we live there are still no cases reported yet. Denmark is shut down for three;, months. Oddly, where some of the members are in Sweden, it is business as usual. They have not shut down anything much. They also have the most cases of all of Scandinavia. We will see how it goes.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

We have a huge view of the valley where we live and you just don’t see many people out or cars, so I think people around here are being vigilant. I go to the post office every week to mail packages and they only let two people in at a time and you can’t get close to the workers, they have a large plastic window with a gap. As for music, there is no live music at the moment but I am making a lot of music and improving my skills, mixing new tracks, recording for new collaborations (a secret at the moment). My fourth Dr Space’s Alien Planet Trip LP –  Space with Bass is still coming out in May. My collaboration with Matt (Ex-Elder, Kind, Queen Elephantine) called Aural Hallucinations will be out on LP, CD and tape around May 1st. A new subscriber-only release of Øresund Space Collective is supposed to arrive this week… So lots still happening..

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We are pretty safe and unlikely to get this virus if we just stay at home since we live so isolated and all my music projects will continue but live concerts will be fewer this year for sure. I wish everyone the best and hope you all ride this crazy virus wave to a safe place and we can all be together again later this year. Thanks to everyone who has bought our music. Peace…

http://oresundspacecollective.com
http://oresundspacecollective.bandcamp.com
http://doctorsofspace.bandcamp.com
http://writingaboutmusic.blogspot.com
http://www.spacerockproductions.com
http://blackmooncircle.bandcamp.com
http://auralhallucinations.bandcamp.com

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Høstsabbat 2020: Øresund Space Collective Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

You ever feel like the universe is just doing you favors? That’s me reading that Øresund Space Collective being added to Høstsabbat 2020 this October in Oslo. One could kind of say the same of the whole lineup to this point, from Mars Red Sky right on down to Green Lung, but honestly, the always-improvised jams of Øresund Space Collective are something I write about when I feel like I need to reset my brain or get myself right on some creative level — a kind of refresher and reminder of the vitality of the passion that can fuel a band’s work. And I’ve never seen them live, either. And if all goes according to plan, I will at Høstsabbat. It’s one more thing to make me look forward to this trip in the Fall. I’ve seen Dr. Space jam with other bands, and that’s been cool, but yeah. This is going to be something special and I can’t wait.

Here’s the announcement. I didn’t write it but I tweaked it a bit at the request of the festival:

hostsabbat 2020 oresund space collective

HØSTSABBAT 2020 – ØRESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE (DK)

Space alert!

When space is the place there’s only one place to go. If your only desire is to be captivated in a lush improvised cosmos, your mind altered by the liquid shifts of galaxies, you need to call in the doctor.

Hailing Dr. Space! Come in, Dr. Space!

Known by the terrestrial name of Scott Heller by some earthlings, Dr. Space gathered the Øresund Space Collective together back in 2004. With a somewhat rotating cast of musicians from around Denmark and beyond, the idea has maintained the same; to gather a group of players challenging themselves in long and improvised jams, taking advantage of the energy between them and the playful interaction. It’s a masterclass in borderless music. A sonic conversation set for the heart of the sun, presented to the listener in its most natural state.

The Collective soon found themselves leaders of the European psych scene, and it’s fair to say they’ve remained in that position ever since, consistent in releases but gigging only occasionally mostly due to other projects spanning out from their core.

After years of trying without success, we are proud to have at last established interplanetary relations between ourselves and Dr. Space, and proud to bring these forefathers of Scandinavian spaced-out psych to our church.

Please welcome Øresund Space Collective to Høstsabbat 2020.

TICKETS
http://bit.ly/hostsabbat2020

HØSTSABBAT 2020 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
http://bit.ly/SFhostsabbat2020

NEWSLETTER
http://bit.ly/NLhostsabbat

Artwork: Trine Grimm Tattoo / Linda K Røed

https://www.facebook.com/events/431138574088425/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

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Review & Video Premiere: Øresund Space Collective, Experiments in the Subconscious

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on December 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

oresund space collective experiments in the subconscious

[Click play above to watch Øresund Space Collective making Experiments in the Subconscious live in the studio. Album is out Jan. 2020 on Space Rock Productions. Cover art by Dennis W. Fleet.]

Though it’s not always immediately apparent by word or deed, one does believe in a bit of self-care every now and again, and in those instances where a bit of spiritual rejuvenation is needed, Øresund Space Collective stand ready to serve as a balm. Fortunately, they’re prolific. They begin 2020 with Experiments in the Subconscious — they’ve also posted countless live shows on the Internet Archive and made some available through Bandcamp, etc., as well — which is their 34th offering by their own count, and thereby collect five tracks, ranging from the three-and-a-half-minute kraut-synth apparent-accident “Oops” to the sprawling and perhaps titled-in-self-awareness jams “Lost in Africa” and “Prosthetic Cuban.” Those two lead off Experiments in the Subconscious and run back to back across 17 and 20 minutes, respectively, digging into Afrobeat and Latin progressions with a still thriving foundation in the space rock.

That, of course, is the well trod domain of the Øresund Space Collective, whose lineup is subject to change from outing to outing but here feature Scott “Dr. Space” Heller on synth as ever as well as Fender Rhodes/synthesist Magnus Hannibal (also Mantric Muse), guitarist/classical sitarist KG Westman (ex-Siena Root), drummer Tim Wallander (Agusa), violinist/guitarist Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven) and bassist Hasse Horrigmoe (Tangle Edge). It’s a not dissimilar group from that which appeared on late-2018’s virtual-reality trip Kybalion (review here), and as that album’s session took place in 2016, it’s hard to know just when Experiments in the Subsconscious might have been put to tape, but somehow, when it comes to Øresund Space Collective, time seems ever more to be an inapplicable construct. They exist. The album exists. Take heart. From the intertwining percussive shuffles and wah-sounding keyboards of “Lost in Africa” through the organic shredfest of guitar, keys, maybe-violin-run-through-effects that is centerpiece “Lost Milesage” (16:34) and post-“Oops” closer “Hieroglyphic Smell” (14:44), Øresund Space Collective bask in the natural process of creation itself, and whether it’s their most fervent moments of thrust or a moment of atmospheric breather-taking like the slowdown in the second half of “Prosthetic Cuban,” their most crucial hallmark is unmistakable.

Which is to say that, as ever, they live up to their long-established ethic of “totally improvised space rock.” Players go into the studio with nothing, and leave most likely exhausted with a collection of sessions from which the jams that comprise their albums are selected, mixed, mastered, and pressed. Studio tricks, overdubs, even vocals, need not apply, and their style is light on posturing or proselytizing. They’re not looking to harsh anyone’s mellow or bring down the room, they just want to go on adventures in aural subspace and have a good time getting there with instrumentalist conversation between players. It has certainly worked for them in the past and it does likewise here, and while one wouldn’t at all call the sheer sound of the band raw, what with the swirling effects on the guitars and synth and keys and whatever else — if there is sitar anywhere on Experiments in the Subconscious, it’s not as easy to discern as on 2017’s Hallucinations Inside the Oracle (review here) or either of Dr. Space‘s two full-lengths as part of the trio West, Space & Love — in terms of capturing the process of creation at the moment it happens, there are few as committed to bringing to life the realization of that rawest creative instant. The Big Bang of songwriting. That feeling when the piece seems to take hold and write itself and sometimes a band doesn’t even know how it came together later — it just did.

oresund space collective

Without hyper-romanticizing what they do, Øresund Space Collective seem to exist in a place searching for this moving target. It may be elusive, but they’ve got experience on their side at this point, and whoever comes in and out of the lineup for a given studio session or live show, the willingness of the participants to let go and bask in that moment feels essential to their taking part in the first place. That is, I guess by now those who sign up to work with Øresund Space Collective — one does imagine a players’ sign-up sheet with the band’s logo on top, though it’s unlikely such a thing exists — probably have some idea of what they’re getting into. Still, the sonic richness of Experiments in the Subconscious and the subtle and not-so-subtle variety between its component jams brings to the forefront some of the purposes and directions that moment of creation might take on as one instrument follows another along a given path or works an idea to its natural endpoint, or doesn’t, or maybe the whole thing just collapses on itself. You never really know, and that’s basically the fun of it.

Of course, it’s true that Experiments in the Subconscious probably wouldn’t exist if the jams didn’t ‘work’ at least to some degree. I’m sure there’s plenty of material from every Øresund Space Collective session that gets left out for one reason or another or doesn’t make the final edit from which their tracks emerge. And that’s fine. They’re certainly entitled to use the material they like best to make their albums — indeed that should be the ideal almost in every case — but though it’s the briefest of cuts, “Oops” is especially telling in conveying the “happy accident” sensibility that drives so much of what Øresund Space Collective do. It’s so short it’s barely a blip among the band’s oft-extended, fluid pieces, but its inclusion feels purposeful here in showcasing how something like that can just happen once someone is willing to make it do so. Even that seemingly simple act of plugging in, pressing (or clicking, more likely) record, and letting loose is a hurdle some people who want to never manage to overcome, and as it seems to happen so naturally for Øresund Space Collective, it’s all the better to hear them enjoying that spirit on a finished recording. It makes their work all the more inspiring, and Experiments in the Subconscious will no doubt prove to be exactly that for those open to it.

Øresund Space Collective on The Facebooks

Øresund Space Collective on Bandcamp

Øresund Space Collective website

Space Rock Productions website

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Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, Freak Out in the Fjord: Cosmic Collision

Posted in Reviews on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

oresund space collective meets black moon circle freak out in the fjord

It happened once upon a Nov. 17, 2017, that respected cosmic improvisationalists Øresund Space Collective made their way from Denmark/Portugal/Planet Omega to Trondheim, Norway, where they were set to join with Black Moon Circle and take part in the Freak Out in the Fjord festival for which they’d eventually name this album. The title, though, is more homage than descriptor, as what makes up the record isn’t the actual live set, but the results of a studio session the next day. That might seem counterintuitive — especially for a band who are not at all shy about putting out live material — until one actually listens to Freak Out in the Fjord, at which point the results become largely inarguable. I say that as a fan of Øresund Space Collective, of course, but if you want to try to make a case against gathering a nine-piece lineup together, sticking them in the studio like some kind of off-the-cuff orchestra — three drummers and all — I’m happy to entertain it.

Certainly by the time they get around in opener “Rendezvous in the Nebula” to tossing off a swaggering reference to Jimmy Forrest‘s “Night Train” (also recorded by James Brown for Live at the Apollo in 1963), any such issue should be settled. From that interstellar-swinging 26-minute leadoff on through the other three more-than-a-side-consuming pieces on the 119-minute Space Rock Productions-issued triple LP, the personality changes, but the ultimate course of exploration is consistent. It’s jammy bliss, and as a particular sucker for an interplay between more than multiple drummers/percussionists, it seems like the rhythms here stand up especially well to the wash of guitar, bass, keys and synth surrounding. For reference, here is the lineup for the session, with their credits directly cut and pasted from the Øresund Space Collective Bandcamp page:

Magnus Hannibal – Fender Rhodes, Synthesizer
Tim Wallander – Drums (right), Fender Rhodes (Side B)
Simon W. Gullikstad – Drums (left)
Hasse Horrigmoe – Bass (slight left)
Øyvin Engan – Bass (slight right)
Vemund Engan – Guitar (right)
Jonathan Segel – Violin, Guitar (left)
Scott “Dr. Space” Heller – Modular Synth, Kaoscillator, Korg Monotron
Per Andreas Gulbrandsen – Drums (side B right, side C/D center)

For those familiar either with Øresund Space Collective or with the Norwegian-native Black Moon Circle, it will come as little surprise that the common thread between the two — aside from a propensity for psych-jamming — is Scott “Dr. Space” Heller. The bandleader of Øresund Space Collective has been a member of Black Moon Circle live and in the studio (also live there, as it happens), and as the two outfits work here under the collective banner of Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, he’s the one tying them together. It is a noble endeavor. The general method of Øresund Space Collective is to hit the studio or stage, press record, and go. Like off-the-cuff jazz born of psychedelia and space rock, their work is always an adventure and always captures the specific moment of its creation, never to come again. Bringing Black Moon Circle — the Engans and Gulbrandsen, as well as Gullikstad and Heller himself — into the fold, they only expand the reach, and as Freak Out in the Fjord plays through its massive sprawl across “Rendezvous in the Nebula” (26:18), “Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens” (23:55), “Dinner with Gregg A. and Jerry G.” (33:16) and “Freak Out in the Fjord” (36:03), the pieces each develop a persona of their own.

This is true whether it’s the Southern guitar inflection of “Dinner with Gregg A. and Jerry G.” or the engrossing well of energy of “Rendezvous in the Nebula,” the organ and synth making their presence felt in the second half of “Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens” by building a tension that instead of blowing up pays off in arguably the record’s sleekest groove, or the title-track’s experimentalist pulse, manifest in bouts of noise and swells of volume as the group moves inextricably toward a grand finale every bit worthy of the nearly two hours preceding. But as with either the work of Øresund Space Collective on their own or Black Moon Circle‘s jammy material or really any such release, Freak Out in the Fjord isn’t about the destination so much as the outward trip to get there, however satisfying the end proves to be.

So far as I know, it doesn’t, but Freak Out in the Fjord should probably come with some manner of warning label about melted consciousness or “these people are professionals; don’t try this at home” or something of the like. The fact of the matter is that whatever else is going on, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle are in their element when mounting these sonic excursions, and it’s never going to be for everyone. It is a kind of extremity. Not of volume, or intensity — at least not in a “metal” sense — but of purpose. It is a constant drive to push deeper into the heart of creativity and to document its realization. Øresund Space Collective, its related outfits and especially Dr. Space have amassed an extensive discography, as a group like this will, but some of their best work is done when they force themselves into a different avenue of collaboration, whether it’s with Black Moon Circle or the likes of KG Westman or Gary Arce.

The core of their approach is unwavering, and well it should be, but over time, it is also showing itself as infinitely malleable to a range of contexts. Maybe that’s easy to say for Øresund Space Collective, since their approach is based on an open sensibility, but the prospect of improv space rock is one that could just as easily fall flat, or sound empty, and instead, Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle are engaging and immersive in kind. Whether you’re putting it on for a two-hour chillout or sitting with your headphones and picking out which drums are in which channel on which track, Freak Out in the Fjord delivers an ultimately satisfying experience for the converted or those willing to be, and while I know the whole point of the thing is to preserve the ephemeral spirit of a moment already gone — remember this was late 2017; though the two bands are touring together — I can’t help but hope Øresund Space Collective and Black Moon Circle meet again for another studio session, as it seems like there’s still so much of the universe to be discovered.

Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle, Freak Out in the Fjord (2019)

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3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space, Ear to Space: Souldreams and Eagle Bones

Posted in Reviews on May 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

3rd ear experience with dr. space ear to space

In 2017, scientists measured ripples in gravity for the first time caused by a neutron star collision in the galaxy rather unromantically-named NGC 4993. It was badass. I don’t know what effect bringing together Californian jammers 3rd Ear Experience with synthesizer specialist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective will have on the universe at large, but if there are gravity waves caused as it beams itself out across space and time, one could hardly be surprised. The two parties coming together perhaps isn’t so much of an impact — that is, it’s actually a pretty smooth process, rather than two objects smashing into each other — but the end result on the 73-minute/five-track Ear to Space feels like a cosmic event anyway. Led by guitarist/producer Robbi Robb, 3rd Ear Experience have been rolling out desert-hued cosmic weirdo jams for the last half-decade, prone to massive explorations or tighter offerings in a varied, never-quite-know-what’s-coming aesthetic that extends to the vibe of the material itself as well as its construction, such as it is constructed at all, what with all the improv.

That sensibility — improv — is all over Ear to Space, with the first three sides of the 2LP each consumed by a single track pushing out across ever greater reaches, such that opener “Screams of Eagle Bone” (14:51), “Anam Cara” (20:22) and the extra-kraut-feeling “Dreams of the Caterpillar” (22:22) become a nebulous sprawl of trance-inducing aural voyage, a put-on-and-mellow-out excursion of engaging atmospheres and deep-running interstellar salutation. The amalgam collaboration of 3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space doesn’t feel so much like an anomaly as it does a cohesive unit, as the two parties work toward the same ends in proffering an ultima-kosmiche space rock, the sax infusion early on “Screams of Eagle Bone” giving immediate Hawkwindian flair to the initial push, but the album finding its own way shortly thereafter as though, having once broken out of the stratosphere, it decides to go wondering around the neighborhood and see what it might run into. Oh, hello cosmic enlightenment. Didn’t see you there.

It’s an interesting project in terms both of the actual results — which are frankly kind of hard to write about because they’re so entrancing — and the process by which they were made. The aforementioned first three tracks, also known as sides A, B and C, were put together first by 3rd Ear Experience, with Robbi Robb on guitar and synth-guitar, Jorge Carrillo on bass, Richard Stuverud on drums, Amritakripa on synth and the bizarre chanting at the end of “Anam Cara,” and John Whoolilurie on sax. They were then sent to Heller, residing in Portugal, who essentially sat in on the “finished” jams, adding his signature sound via custom modular synth box and presumably other beep-boop this-and-thats — don’t ask me how the magic happens; it’s technology beyond my feeble understanding. The short version of the tale is: it works. If they said Dr. Space wizarded his way to California to join 3rd Ear Experience in the studio live, no one would think twice about questioning it. But, the last two tracks basically flip the method. Dr. Space started out with the synth textures of “Coin in the Desert” (9:37) and “Sue’s Dream World” (6:04), then sent that to Robb and company to be finished and mixed and mastered.

3rd Ear Experience with Dr Space Ear to Space lps

Especially in the case of “Sue’s Dream World,” that change is palpable in a departure to more atmospheric reaches, a lack of drums emphasizing the feeling of floating that’s been there all along if somewhat tethered to molecular cohesion by Stuverud‘s drums and the other percussion around even in “Coin in the Desert,” let alone “Screams of Eagle Bone,” which is downright straightforward in comparison. That said, because “Sue’s Dream World” is shorter, “Dreams of the Caterpillar” might actually be the point where Ear to Space finds itself most crossing dimensions, though it hardly seems a coincidence that both songs involve the word “dream” in their respective titles. That’s not to say “Anam Cara” is lacking anything for otherworldliness. Its sax-laced midsection freakout is a joy to behold, especially in terms of what Carrillo brings on bass, and the solo-topped wandering that happens afterward only enhances the wash, organ and synth coinciding to ensure there’s due melodic breadth to go with all the spaced-out spread happening.

On some level, the listener who is most likely to take on a collaborative effort from 3rd Ear Experience and Dr. Space probably knows what they’re getting going into it. That is, Ear to Space is probably not the kind of thing that finds its way into the hands of the not-yet-converted, except through word-of-mouth proselytizing. Fine. I don’t think going into it knowing that it’s going to be spacey diminishes the listening experience at all, because that simple category is so open to interpretation. 3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space are indeed spaced out. That’s the idea they’re working from. That’s what they’re going for. But that doesn’t account for the undulating swells at the start of “Dreams of the Caterpillar” or the percussion jam in “Coin in the Desert” or the serenity with which “Screams of Eagle Bone” later resolves its early outbound rocketing.

The nature of improvised space rock is to capture these moments at the heart of creation, and so even while the frame might be familiar, the portrait within is inherently fresh. The point is to make a moment, and that moment, that specific “right then,” doesn’t happen twice. It may seem like an incongruity that something so tied to ephemera — made once, not recreated — should have such a lasting impression, but this too is part of the whole idea and part of what makes Ear to Space so gorgeous as a concept. It’s two parties reaching across continents and an ocean to come together in one celebratory creation ritual. It’s not meant to last, but it does. I’d be surprised if Ear to Space is the only time Robb and Heller join forces, as there seems to be so much more to be explored, and space itself is endless. Until then, this is a most encouraging first contact.

3rd Ear Experience with Dr. Space, Ear to Space (2019)

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Dr. Space Premieres “Cosmic Explosions” Video from Alien Planet Trip Vol. 3

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dr space

Pardon me, but is the head of the household available? Great! Might you have a few minutes to hear the good word of our interstellar salvation? Excellent!

In that case, I delightfully turn you over to Dr. Space, the synth wizard — sometimes actually in costume, sometimes more of a figurative wizard — who stands as figurehead of the amorphous improv outfit Øresund Space Collective. Once of the US, then of Denmark, currently in Portugal with probably six or seven other places in between in what we pitifully think of as “our” dimension, Dr. Space has in the last 20-plus years amassed a massive catalog of output in the form of live records, studio jams, collaborations, splits, and more recently, solo affairs as part of a serious aptly dubbed Alien Planet Trip. The first them (review here) appeared in the night sky circa 2017, and a second followed in moodier fashion last year, amid a general onslaught of offerings.

The third is fully titled Dr. Space’s Alien Planet Trip Vol. 3 Featuring Martin Weaver, and feels very much like the beginning of a collaboration that will flesh out further in the future — or maybe it already has if we’re consideringdr spaces alien planet trip vol 3 the realm of non-linear time. Either way, true to its somewhat cumbersome title, it brings together Dr. Space — né Scott Heller — with the also-currently-of-Portugal guitarist Martin Weaver, whom heavy rock heads might recognize from his time in ripe-for-reissue proto-riffers Wicked Lady, among scores of others, and the two mount a kraut-hued exploration of synthesizer and guitar textures across a 50-minute eight-tracker (the LP edition is 44-minutes and seven tracks) that casts forth a hypnotic psychedelic suggestion every bit worthy of owning a song called “Trance Pants.”

That cut, by the by, is a techno freakout the likes of which probably won’t make it into “the club” unless “the club” is indeed on another planet, but emblematic of the kind of experimentalism on display throughout. Opening with the duo “Lost in the Desert” — on which Weaver adds drum programming and various other percussion as well as guitar — and the brazenly ambient “Veganporcotopia,” Alien Planet Trip Vol. 3 willfully blows down the doors of consciousness in its reach such that it’s not just about throwing ideas onto the tape and seeing what the magnet holds, but of helping conjure the other-world to which the title alludes. Even in the shorter “Where Aliens Go to Die” and also-percussive “Cosmic Explosion” find their way to do that, and “Spacey Placey” and “Sue’s Dream of Exploding Sheep” only push further out from there.

It’s a trip, sir or madam, well worth the taking. I thank you for your time and descriptor-indulgence and wish you well on your journey.

Enjoy:

Dr. Space with Martin Weaver, “Cosmic Explosions” official video premiere

Dr Space makes another Alien planet trip and this time he takes guitarist Martin Weaver along with him. This track ‘Cosmic Explosions’ is off the new record Vol 3. The album takes the listener through many different soundscapes and textures.

The 3rd volume of Alien Planet Trips is a collaboration with guitar player, Martin Weaver (Wicked Lady, Dark). We met a year ago and found we had a in common musically and should work together. These tracks were conceived during the summer of 2018, when it was too hot to do anything outside. It had been many years since I used my Nord Lead 2 so it was time to take it out and see what sounds it could produce. Many of the tracks the main synth lines were created on the Nord Lead and then additional layers were added and Martin then laid down some guitars. Hope you enjoy this 3rd Trip. It is very different from Vol 1 and 2.

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