Friday Full-Length: My Sleeping Karma, My Sleeping Karma

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

 

If you asked the band, I bet Germany’s My Sleeping Karma would probably think of their 2006 self-titled debut as primitive in some way, at least compared to what’s come after, the way the arrangements stay relatively straightforward and the spiritual themes that would take hold across subsequent releases only beginning to be explored. Maybe they’d be right in that context, but the six-tracker is also the foundation for all that later growth and exploration. More over, it is an album of detail. Listen to the way the drums complement the emphasis on guitar line in “InTENsion” or the counterpoint to the guitar lines that the bass brings in “Glow 11.” The wisp of effects backing the central guitar line in the quiet stretches of second cut “23 Enigma.” The synth line pushing alongside the space rock drive of “Drannel Xu Ilop” and the way eight-minute closer “Eightfold Path” so gracefully unfolds its rolling progression across its early going. Even just the warmth of its tones. Guitar and bass, granted, but how often do you hear drums that sound warm? Recorded by drummer Steffen Weigand, who shared a prior tenure in underrated rockers The Great Escape with bassist Matte Vandeven — that band’s last album, Nothing Happens Without a Dream, came out on Nasoni in 2005 — My Sleeping Karma‘s My Sleeping Karma arrived through Elektrohasch Schallplatten and delivered an aural smoothness the likes of which heavy rock hadn’t heard before. Sure, Weigand, Vandeven, guitarist Seppi and keyboardist Norman Mehren drew form a well of influences in progressive, heavy and psychedelic rock, but their intent toward individuality, even at this moment of outset, is plain to hear in the tracks of their self-titled. And also in everything that’s come since.

I’d dug The Great Escape, played tracks from 2003’s Escape from Reality on college radio, etc., but the arrival of My Sleeping Karma was something on its own wavelength. At the time, much of my frame for heavy psychedelia was based around the also-Germany-based Colour Haze, and fair enough since they were among the principal European forebears of the style, but My Sleeping Karma‘s My Sleeping Karma emphasized how much more there was to say with heavy psych, how it could go to different places and occupy more than one mindset. There was something spiritual about it from the start. In the crucial unfurling of the 9:21 opener and longest track (immediate points) “InTENsion” (9:21), the four-piece from my sleeping karma self titledAschaffenburg created an immersion of the listener that went beyond “setting the tone” in the spirit of so many opening tracks and moved into a genuine sense of creating a mood, finding a headspace and bringing the listener to it. It was heavy in presence and weighted in tone, but peaceful even in its later, driving reaches, as its intended tension came to a head. And from the resonant keyboard lines of “23 Enigma” to the more active jump and shove of “Hymn 72,” My Sleeping Karma worked its way outward from the start, setting up the deep dive that its final three tracks, “Glow 11,” “Drannel Xu Ilop” and “Eightfold Path,” would represent on a clearly purposeful and clearly hypnotic and clearly switched on side B.

The effect of pairing “Glow 11” and “Drannel Xu Ilop” in particular isn’t to be understated. Like having “23 Enigma” and “Hymn 72” back-to-back just at the end of side A, having “Glow 11” into “Drannel Xu Ilop” lead into side B provides the proverbial “meat” of the album in terms of atmosphere — so yes, the meat you can’t see or touch, but meat nonetheless; don’t you touch that intangible meat! — and drawing the listener deeper into the record’s sphere. It’s not just that the songs are both seven-plus minutes long, or remarkably mellow, or hyper-repetitive. In fact they’re none of those things, but together they make up 15 minutes of a 44-minute LP and go a long way toward creating the saga of My Sleeping Karma‘s creative breadth. Their lushness isn’t overbearing — they’re never a wash of tone or effects or crash — but the movement is so fluid within and between them that one almost can’t help but be caught up in their sweep, and even though the payoff of “Drannel Xu Ilop” hearkens back to an earlier riff to make its impact, that impact is only more engaging for the subconscious familiarity of its figure. And as a bookend with “InTENsion,” “Eightfold Path” finishes with a reinforcement not only of the outward cast of My Sleeping Karma as a whole, but of the progressive future that was at the time ahead of the band. Held together by the bassline, a slower, drifting movement brings the track to its finish, not really soft, but subtle in its groove, with just bursts of intensity in the guitar before the last airy exhale comes forward, closing on a suitably meditative note.

My Sleeping Karma would go on to release two more albums through Elektrohasch in 2008’s Satya (review here; discussed here) and 2010’s Tri (review here) before signing to Napalm Records‘ short-lived heavy rock imprint Spinning Goblin Productions that was soon enough folded into Napalm proper for 2012’s Soma (review here), 2015’s Moksha (review here) and the 2017 live album, Mela Ananda — Live (review here). They put in a fair amount of road time in 2018, playing festivals like Desertfest Belgium and Freak Valley, and just last month they put in an appearance at SonicBlast Moledo ahead of touring in November with Stoned Jesus on an Obelisk-presented run (info here) called ‘Sonic Ride’ that has Somali Yacht Club opening the shows. No way that’s not going to be a good time.

I haven’t heard plans about a new album, but even if something’s in the works, it presumably wouldn’t be out until 2019 at this point, which would  mean a five-year stretch between studio My Sleeping Karma offerings, which is by far the longest they’ve ever had. For all I know they’ve got something mastered and there’s a press release in my email right now about it, though. Hang on, I’ll check… nope. Well, I’ll check again in five minutes and see if there’s anything then. Will keep you posted.

In the meantime, as always, I hope you enjoy the self-titled. It had been a while since I last dug into it, and while their style may have become more complex with the 13 years since, there’s no question that My Sleeping Karma knew they wanted their music to be a soulful, expressive experience right from the start. And so it was.

Thanks for reading.

Got that burnout working pretty hard on me this week. All levels. I’ve been reminding myself it’s the start of The Patient Mrs.’ semester. And she’s starting a new job. And I’m probably still tired from the move. And we have a toddler. And no dishwasher. The list goes on. But I also still have projects like Lowrider PostWax liner notes (this weekend is it; tomorrow they’re getting done), Acrimony liner notes (waiting on interviews back, so there’s still some time there), a piece on the art at Høstsabbat I said I’d put together and a press release for a certain New England band of marked impact hanging over my head, and all that stuff is feeling pretty overwhelming, and not in that good Quarterly Review kind of way. Like in the what-the-hell-am-I-doing-this-for kind of way.

Example: it’s just about 6AM. I’ve been writing for the last hour and a half and I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. The Pecan will be up any minute now. What the hell am I doing this for?

Whatever.

Next week? Fucking packed. Stream of the interview with Lori from Acid King goes up I think on Friday?, but don’t quote me on that. Premieres slated for Cavern, and Iron & Stone, and reviews of Ecstatic Vision, High Fighter, Mars Red Sky and the Ode to Doom show that’s happening next Wednesday in Manhattan. It’ll be my first Ode after co-presenting the series for three years. I’m already a little nervous to go.

I also this week had to take my new lens in for repair and that became a whole thing with Canon. Apparently they sent my warranty to an old email that doesn’t exist anymore, so I never activated it — which means nothing, by the way; the idea of “activating” a warranty by signing up for their system and giving them all the information about what you have and what you do with it? yeah, it’s a data mine and nothing more — and the first time I went to the office it was like I was coming from another planet. Took me all of Tuesday to sort out what had happened to that email, then I got it and had to wait for the warranty confirmation for a day and blah blah blah but I took the lens back in yesterday to the place and it was fine. Hopefully I’ll have it in time for the show next Wednesday, but if not, I’ll slum it with the just-one lens I always used until a couple weeks ago when I bought the new one. Could be worse.

Today is a new episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. You saw the playlist. It’s a good ‘un, and I kind of get sentimental in the last voice-break, so that’s fun too. Listen at http://gimmeradio.com.

Alright. The baby-monitor shows the boy is still down, so I’m going to take a couple minutes, finish the rest of this coffee and read and probably fall asleep on the couch.

I wish you a great and safe weekend. Have fun doing what you do.

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Daal Dazed Premiere “Invisible Prison” from Self-Titled Debut EP

Posted in audiObelisk on July 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

daal dazed

German six-piece Daal Dazed release their self-titled debut EP on Aug. 9 through H42 Records. “Invisible Prison” is the leadoff cut on the three-song outing, and it quickly nestles into a comfortable heavy blues vibe, organ and two guitars interweaving melodic lines behind the vocals of Philipp Staab, who makes his presence felt early in soulfully belting out the lyrics, and in the course of an efficient 4:41, the song sets the Aschaffenburg outfit apart for their clarity of sound amid a horde of fuzz-overloaders, and the subsequent “Freedom” follows suit despite a jammier vibe, ebbing and flowing through semi-psychedelic liquidity, shuffling drums and percussion adding movement all the while. A more weighted groove persists in the chorus of closer “Angel Babe,” though that’s accompanied by a driving punctuation of snare in the verse, so there’s a balance between the build and release of tension as it plays out.

There’s nothing overly fancy happening in Daal Dazed, but the straightforward tack of the songwriting isn’t to be discounted just daal dazed daal dazedbecause it’s not a wash of tone. Rather, Daal Dazed have an all the more classic sound for their to-the-point aspects. “Freedom” is under four minutes long and “Angel Babe” is under three, so there isn’t really much messing around anywhere you look. That’s fitting enough for a debut EP — they’ll grow into their sound and flesh it out over time — but even an early emphasis on crafting their material bodes well for wherever they might be headed next. Nothing against those who want to jam or fuzz themselves into oblivion, but for Daal Dazed, they seem to be shooting for something else, and the focus on songwriting is what’s allowing and what will continue to allow them to get there.

Would that I could be as efficient in language as they are in music. What it rounds out to is the EP is a rocker by rockers and for rockers. You’ll hear classic elements at play with modern production methods and a bluesy spirit throughout. If you need anything more than that to get you through the track, well, the cover artwork also rules, and there’s that organ too.

So have at it, and enjoy:

DAAL DAZED announced their debut release, a self-titled 3-song 12” EP! It’s a raw and bluesy hard rocker featuring bottleneck guitars and a percussion heavy rhythm section.

Available as:
12″-vinyl on clear vinyl with silkscreened ‘Moon’ b-side (ltd. 100)
12″-vinyl on universe black with handsigned b-side (ltd. 120)
download/stream on all platforms

Release will be August 9th 2019!
Presale starts July 9th 2019 via H42 Records.

Invisible Prison starts out as a smooth opener before climaxing into an organ-driven, heavy finale.
Freedom combines funky drumming with Hendrix-esque guitars & vocal delivery!
And lastly, Angel Babe closes the EP with a bang!

Daal Dazed is:
Philipp Bergmann: Drums
Philipp Staab: Vocals
Michael Imhof: Percussion
Julian Kaatz: Bass
Simon Steigerwald: Guitar
Kim Steigerwald: Guitar

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H42 Records website

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My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live: Blissful Gathering

Posted in Reviews on March 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

my-sleeping-karma-mela-anada-live

It’s now been about 11 years since Bavarian heavy psych outfit My Sleeping Karma made their self-titled debut on Elektrohasch Schallplatten. One can recall getting that album from the label, with its mostly-white cover, its Eastern inflections, and what would turn out to be a nascent version of their approach that subsequently incorporated themes from Hinduism and Buddhism, drop the idea of vocals entirely, and greatly expand the sonic palette overall while remaining vigilantly consistent in its flow. From 2008’s Satya (review here) onward, My Sleeping Karma have become a considerable presence in the European underground because they’ve proven themselves able to foster their sound into something and progressive and individualized without letting that core groove slip away. Their growth can be charted across 2010’s Tri (review here), 2012’s Soma (review here) — which found them releasing through Napalm Records for the first time — and 2015’s Moksha (review here), which pushed them beyond limitations of genre in a way both natural and driven by an underlying consciousness.

But even that happened while My Sleeping Karma sounded like My Sleeping Karma, and as they’ve come into their own over their years, they’ve begun to have an influence on other acts around them, particularly the psych-jam sphere — though to my ears much of what they do has always carried over as more meticulous in tone and structure, however based in jams it might initially be. As such, a live album is probably overdue, and the arrival of Mela Ananda – Live via Napalm is most welcome in how it provides a glimpse of what the experience might be like of watching them play — sadly and more than a bit to my shame, I’ve never had the chance to do so — and how it spans their catalog to highlight their evolution. Unsurprisingly, it flows like mad.

Accompanied in its digipak form by a bonus DVD of the band’s Rockpalast performance, Mela Ananda – Live rightly keeps Moksha in focus. The cover art by Sebastian Jerke alludes to that album as well with a return of the horn-throwing Ganesha that appeared on its front, though the position of that character on a stage with a band before a crowd of freaks and aliens also speaks directly to the idea of performance and the title here, which reportedly translates to “a gathering of bliss.” Fair enough for the four-piece of guitarist Seppi, bassist Matte, drummer Steffen and keyboardist Norman, who’ve made spiritualism and the exploration thereof through music central to My Sleeping Karma since they first set out on their path, but Mela Ananda – Live also gives the band a showcase to let their audience realize how steady their output has been over the last decade-plus.

my sleeping karma

I don’t know if it’s comprised of one recorded evening-with or multiple gigs, but the 10-song/69-minute offering would seem to find them at the top of their game — at least to-date. As Moksha opener “Prithvi” begins here, they construct a momentum that carries through the set with a fluidity that’s striking in how akin it is to their studio work. Because their tones have always been so smooth, and have only grown more so over time, it wouldn’t seem unreasonable to think they’d have a harsher edge in a live setting, but though “23 Enigma” from the self-titled — here listed as “Enigma 42” — builds to a weightier thrust as closer “Hymn 72” from the same record also will at the end of the show, both it and “Glow 11” — which follows and appeared on the self-titled as well as Soma  demonstrate the patience that has emerged in My Sleeping Karma‘s aesthetic.

Their delivery is energetic and all the more able to hold the crowd rapt for that, but they don’t lose sight of the immersive aspects of what they do either; the entrancing way in which the bass sets the foundation for the guitar and keys in the memorable “Ephedra,” or how Tri opener “Brahama” so gracefully unfolds its peaks and valleys. “Vayu” and “Akasha” represent Moksha well back to back, and the turns that follow into “Brahama,” “Psilocybe” (from Soma) and the penultimate “Tamas” (from Tri) bask in the molten naturalism that has become, in many ways, the defining hallmark of My Sleeping Karma around which their evolution has taken place.

Granted, this probably shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s followed them for a stretch of time, but being their first live recording, it’s a new context in which to hear their songs interact with each other. Even “Hymn 72,” which follows the band thanking the audience (off-mic) and seemingly coming back out for an encore, doesn’t feel out of place with its more hurried, straightforward push. My Sleeping Karma may have developed considerably since the self-titled was released, but while Moksha and Soma were more progressive in their outward impression and that seems to be the direction they’ll keep moving, there’s further emphasis in Mela Ananda – Live of just how essential their beginning was in making that happen.

They’ve proven over the last 10 years to be one of Europe’s most forward-thinking heavy psych bands, and gained plenty of due acclaim as a result, so even if one wants to level the live-album-as-fan-piece accusation at this release, it seems to me to be well earned on their part both in celebration of what they’ve accomplished to this point and as a representation of how they view their own material, which only deepens the understanding of the listener in kind. One doesn’t necessarily want to venture a solid guess at what might come next from them, but if Mela Ananda – Live makes anything plain, it’s how signature My Sleeping Karma‘s sound is, and how committed they are to evolving it with sincerity, atmosphere and a continuing sense of adventure.

My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live album trailer

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My Sleeping Karma website

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My Sleeping Karma, Moksha: Freedom through Realization

Posted in Reviews on May 12th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

my-sleeping-karma-moksha

The progression of German instrumentalists My Sleeping Karma has been as natural and flowing as the tones they’ve offered across their releases. Moksha is their fifth full-length and second to be released on Napalm Records behind 2012’s Soma (review here), and like that album, it finds the Aschaffenburg four-piece delving into Eastern religious themes — “Prithvi” being the world in which everything is contained, “Moksha” being freedom through self-realization, “Agni” the Hindu god of fire, etc. — and spacing out its graceful longer pieces with progressive interludes. In structure, Moksha could be considered a direct sequel to its predecessor, but much of what My Sleeping Karma accomplishes across its 11 songs/54 minutes finds its roots further back, in 2010’s Tri (review here), 2008’s Satya (review here) or even their 2006 self-titled. Their growth, in other words, has been steady, and the four-piece have proved over the better part of the last decade to be more inclined toward gradual, incremental steps forward than presumptuous leaps of sound. Moksha, then, is the next step for guitarist Seppi, bassist Matte, drummer Steffen and keyboardist Norman, and it proves to be their most entrancing work yet, pulling varied movements together across an immersive singular span that heavy, progressive, and hypnotically psychedelic while continuing to refine their sound as one of the most immediately identifiable in underground rock. The textured feel of the material here, whether it’s the building guitar swirl of “Vayu” or the keyboard and effects wash of the penultimate “Interlude 5,” is what unites it as a whole, and more even than Soma, it’s possible to make your way through the various twists and surprises Moksha has on offer without realizing just how far you’ve gone.

Like the best of heavy psychedelia, the feel is otherworldly, but My Sleeping Karma have never just been about jamming. Even less so over time. Their songs, though instrumental and portraying an open creative process, carry a refined feel, and that’s true from the first echoing guitar notes of “Prithvi,” which courses through keyboard and guitar melodies over a steady rhythmic foundation, leading into the first interlude’s ritualized drone, chanting and percussion coming to a head just as “Vayu” takes over, again led by the guitar and keys. Memorable turns, tonal warmth and easy transitions are nothing new for My Sleeping Karma, but both “Prithvi” and “Vayu” underscore just how much their sound has become their own over the course of the last nine years, and even with the three-year break preceding Moksha as the longest of their career, they have continued to evolve their approach. “Vayu” ends on a dreamy note of fading horns and “Interlude 2” picks up with a quiet guitar line fleshed out atmospherically over 1:45 before “Akasha” kicks in as one of Moksha‘s most engaging moments, a driving rhythm and airy spaciousness playing back and forth with each other not so much in competition as complement, Steffen‘s drums tying it together as each build starts anew. Moksha is more linear than broken into sides A and B — more like LPs one and two, both for its north-of-50-minutes runtime and companioning of one song into the next into the next — but the acoustic guitars and mellotron sounds of “Interlude 3” mark a halfway dividing point nonetheless, and keys remain at the fore in the beginning of the subsequent title-track, also the longest inclusion at 9:37. While not as immediately catchy as “Akasha,” the titular cut offers satisfying rumble in its distortion, a fervent swirl, satisfying tempo shifts and a sense of composition that has remained a key factor in My Sleeping Karma‘s style particularly over their last three outings. I won’t take anything away from the faster prog riff that emerges from the grand chugging of “Moksha”‘s largest moments, but what really makes the piece a standout is the post-rock guitar/key interplay that comes forward at about the 5:30 mark, Norman‘s intro line resurfacing and fleshing out for the remainder of the track, not so much in a build, but in a contemplative moment of exploration that hints at what the next step might be for the band.

my-sleeping-karma

That step? One can only speculate, but listening to Moksha and in particular listening to the song that shares the album’s name, it seems that where My Sleeping Karma might be headed is in drawing the heavy psychedelic and progressive influences together, taking the adventurous ambience and arrangements of their interludes and the solidified movement of their longer tracks and bringing them into a new cohesion. Whether that comes from expanding the interludes or broadening their songwriting as a whole, I don’t know what shape it might take, but five albums deep, that’s part of what makes My Sleeping Karma an exciting listen. Airy guitars continue amid a poignant surge on “Interlude 4,” while “Jalam” continues the expansive cascade of “Moksha,” careening into and through heavier parts en route to a sprawling, firm-rooted middle ground, the turn in one direction or another sudden but easy enough to follow, and the last of the interludes, the aforementioned “Interlude 5” has a smokier feel in its guitar and keyboard spread. Almost a bluesy drama, if filtered through the band’s own style. That leaves “Agni” to close out Moksha with a note reinforcing the album’s progressive vibe, which it does via intricate riffing and overarching thrust offset by more open “verse” riffs and a calm midsection that acts as the launch point for the last of the record’s builds, My Sleeping Karma taking one more lead-topped run into weightier distortion amid a comfortable lumber, adding intensity to the push until a final crash lets the ending tones fade away. One way or another, My Sleeping Karma have already made an impact on heavy psychedelia, not notably in Europe, but if listening to Moksha and trying to parse out what they might do next proves anything, it’s how fascinating a project theirs continues to be even a decade after its inception. Whatever direction My Sleeping Karma may or may not go, their output has only become more resonant with time, and as the most recent check-in on their progress, Moksha finds them at their most accomplished yet. But they in no way sound like they’re done, either.

My Sleeping Karma, “Prithvi” official video

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Moksha at Napalm Records

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My Sleeping Karma Post Art and Details for New Album Moksha

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

my sleeping karma

One day, I’ll see My Sleeping Karma live. I’m confident it will happen. The German heavy psych instrumentalists are pretty high on my list at this point, to be honest, but I’ve seen enough things I never thought I’d see to be hopeful that, sooner or later, our paths will cross. Sooner would be better.

The four-piece have announced the details and release dates for their second album through Napalm Records — fifth overall; where does the time go? — which is titled Moksha. It follows behind 2012’s excellent Soma (review here) and boasts cover art by Sebastian Jerke that you can see, along with the tracklisting and formats below.

It’s worth noting that, since they made their self-titled debut on Elektrohasch in 2006, the three years between 2012 and 2015 is the longest stretch My Sleeping Karma have gone without releasing a full-length. They’ve usually worked on two-year intervals. Granted they toured Soma pretty hard, but it only adds further intrigue to the prospect of Moksha that it was a little bit longer in the making.

Here’s that info off the PR wire:

my sleeping karma moksha (art by Sebastian Jerke)

German quartet MY SLEEPING KARMA are back with their fifth studio album “Moksha.” The band considers this album, their strongest record to date. The sound and tone of the album perfectly fits into the Instrumental Progressive – and Ambient Post Rock realms.

From the start the listener is kidnapped by the spherical sound, between enormous atmospheric compositions with pure rock riffs and psychedelic melodies perfectly intertwined into this scenery.

Immerse yourself, both with the risk of completely losing yourself in this brand new masterpiece, because you might not be able to emerge again. Perhaps you don’t want to…

Find the cover, release dates, track listing & available formats below:

Formats:
Digipack
2LP Gatefold Edition (Black & Limited Color Editions)

Release Dates:
29.05.2015: GAS, RoE, AUS
01.06.2015: UK/NOR/FR/DK/IT
03.06.2015: SE/ESP
09.06.2015: US/CAN

Track listing:

Prithvi
Interlude 1
Vayu
Interlude 2
Akasha
Interlude 3
Moksha
Interlude 4
Jalam
Interlude 5
Agni

For More Info Visit:
www.mysleepingkarma.com
www.facebook.com/MySleepingKarma
www.napalmrecords.com
www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

My Sleeping Karma, Soma (2012)

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My Sleeping Karma Post In-Studio Video Series; Finish Recording New Album

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

my sleeping karma

German heavy psych rockers My Sleeping Karma have finished the recording process for their next album. Their last outing was also their Napalm Records debut and their fourth offering overall after three increasingly complex and satisfying releases on Elektrohasch Schallplatten. That full-length, Soma (review here), came out in 2012 as the follow-up to 2010’s Tri (review here), and proved a jump not only in breadth of distribution, but in sound as well, the four-piece Aschaffenburg outfit playing off their already established tendency toward keyboard textures and ambient melodies to create even richer and more immersive material. The response was accordingly welcoming.

Maybe that’s putting it mildly, since what Soma essentially did for My Sleeping Karma was thrust them to the upper echelon of Europe’s heavy psych movement. They worked hard to get to that point, of course — both in the studio and on tour — but no question that had that record fallen flat their work wouldn’t have been so readily recognized. Soma was a pivotal moment for them, so it’s with marked interest that one finds the news of the fifth album being done and on to the mixing stage prior to mastering and the eventual release. My Sleeping Karma posted regular video updates from the studio — a series of three — and each installment features some snippets of new music in the process of being made. As you can hear, the smoothness of their style and tones isn’t happenstance and it sounds like album number five will continue the thread forward from where Soma left off. Glad to hear it.

My Sleeping Karma are set to appear at both Desertfest London and Berlin in April. More tour news as I see it come down. In the meantime, here are the studio clips:

My Sleeping Karma in the Studio



Dear Friends,

We have finished the recording process. All main instruments as well as the gimmicks are “in the box”. Now we start with the mixing process.

Have a great week end.

My Sleeping Karma website

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Friday Full-Length: My Sleeping Karma, Satya

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 25th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

My Sleeping Karma, Satya (2008)

I was fishing through YouTube as I sometimes do looking for something to close out the week, and once I got to My Sleeping Karma‘s Satya and got about two seconds into opener “Ahimsa,” I knew I had no reason to search any further. The German heavy psych instrumentalists’ second album, released in 2008, was the first record I ever reviewed for this site (review here; though honestly it’s so needlessly packed with internet snark that I’m almost embarrassed to post the link), so obviously it has sentimental value there, but considering how hard My Sleeping Karma has worked on the two albums since, 2010’s Tri (review here) and their 2012 Napalm Records debut, Soma (review here), to push themselves creatively and further their craft, I think there’s plenty of aesthetic value as well. More than I appreciated at the time, and I liked Satya plenty when I first heard it. I guess I was figuring out how to do this and thought the only way to go about it was to be a wiseass about everything. Hindsight makes fools of us all.

Satya, however, only sounds richer with the context of the subsequent years, the Aschaffenburg four-piece blossoming in that time into one of the forerunners of the European heavy psych movement, moving beyond the jammy Colour Haze influence that marked their earliest work and emerging with a character all their own that, by now, has become a point of influence for others in their wake. I’m not sure they had such lofty ambitions six or seven years ago when Satya was coming together, but listening back to it now, their grip on their aesthetic was firm and they knew how to elicit movement within individual songs while also creating an overarching full-length flow. They had some stuff they were still figuring out — experiments with vocals, samples, etc. — but you can hear the heart of what My Sleeping Karma has become in this material, and more than that, right now, it’s really hitting the spot.

Should go without saying at this point, but I hope you enjoy it.

Apologies for the lack of posts today. Not looking for sympathy or “sorry for the loss” or anything like that — just letting you know what’s up — but I had an uncle pass away this week and after driving back up to Jersey last Sunday, had to come back down on Tuesday. Wrote the obituary, actually, and sort of ghost-wrote the eulogy with my cousin, which was an experience. Anyway, this afternoon and this evening was the wake, so pretty much the whole day went to that. Not much I could really do about it and sometimes that kind of thing just needs to take priority. I appreciate the understanding, and if you were looking for more posts, stick around next week because there’s a lot coming.

I’ve been asked to do another Red Kunz premiere. The last one went so awesomely well, that there’s another live video I’m in talks with the labels to get going. It might be Monday or might be later on or of course the whole thing could fall through and they could go a completely different direction, but I’ve got my hopes up it comes together, since that EP has a really cool sound and is worth getting the word out on as much as possible. Anyway, fingers crossed.

Also next week, I’ve got other family stuff going Wednesday, so I’m going to try to put together a podcast and get it posted, but that’ll probably be it for that day. I’m backed up on Radio adds, so those will go up, and I’m planning on posting the bio I wrote for the new Lo-Pan album, and a review of the new Karma to Burn. I’m so backed up on reviews it’s sad. I was thinking maybe of taking one week and just putting up 300 words of everything on the pile, doing that and nothing else, each record its own post, just to plow through everything and get back to square one. Not sure I’ll ever be that brave, but if you’ve sent something in, please know I’m doing my best. It’s been a time the last few months.

After the memorial tomorrow, though, I’m driving back up to Massachusetts. I’ll hopefully have time to stop off at home, or at least empty out the car, but then it’s off to the airport to pick up The Patient Mrs., who returns from Greece tomorrow night. It’s been a long month and I can’t wait to see her. This will have been the longest we’ve ever been apart since we first got together almost 18 years ago, and I survived, me and the dog, but with the move and everything, it’ll be so good to have her home and I feel like I’ll be able to get my head on straight a little bit for the first time in at least a couple weeks. Point is I can’t wait. The thought of seeing her has been carrying me through the past couple days.

Before I forget, I also passed the 1,000 followers mark on Twitter this week. That’s more than I ever thought would care enough to click the button, so thank you to everyone for the support there.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be back home on Monday and we’ll pick up then. Right on.

Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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My Sleeping Karma Tour Video Documents 2012 Shows with Monster Magnet

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 17th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Unsurprisingly, the My Sleeping Karma 20-minute tour documentary My Sleeping Karma: A Tour Video really makes me want to see My Sleeping Karma. Maybe that’s not fair, since I wanted to see the German heavy psych instrumentalists already, but let’s just say that after watching the footage chronicling their tour last fall supporting Monster Magnet — also supporting their fourth album, Soma (review here), which was their first for Napalm Records — my wanting to see them hasn’t diminished. Quite the contrary.

Maybe one of these days they’ll come to the States or I’ll be lucky enough to get back to Europe at a time when we can cross paths, but in the meantime, My Sleeping Karma: A Tour Video — compiled and edited by Tim Bohnenstingl of StonerRock.eu — does an excellent job of conveying the atmosphere on the road with the band and what they’re able to deliver in a live setting, which looks to be plenty.

Check out the full documentary below, followed by some more info on its creation, courtesy of Bohnenstingl himself:

My Sleeping Karma: A Tour Video

This 20 minute tour documentary was filmed over six days on tour, following My Sleeping Karma non stop. Hamburg, Paris, London, Manchester, Stuttgart. It focuses on the live shows, but also allows the audience to experience one day of a normal band on the road : Driving long distances, soundchecks, press interviews, photoshootings, load outs, jamming and just being yourself. All this is combined with interviews by the band commenting on the tour life and the “Flow” which My Sleeping Karma are kind of famous for in the underground scene.

“It was not only a pleasure and honour to be on tour with Monster Magnet, the band which brought me to the so called Stoner Rock, but much more so: My Sleeping Karma, one of the bands which still keeps me so interested in this flourishing genre. I had a lot of fun with the nicest people, I hope you will too while watching the movie.”. Tim, stonerrock.eu

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